Neighbors knew something wasn’t right when the newspapers started stacking up outside John and Amy Parrish’s Richfield home.
On Sunday morning, one of them called police. They found Amy Parrish, 98, dead inside the tidy white corner house, apparently after falling. John Parrish, 95, was found alive on the floor and taken to a hospital.
Neighbors in the 7400 block of Girard Avenue speculated that he had fallen after trying to help his wife.
Helen Johnson said she was “shook up” to hear the news and said Amy Parrish still drove her car and raked leaves in her yard. They chatted often about everyday things, she said, including her grandchildren, but she hadn’t heard from her since Memorial Day. She called but got no answer, though the couple had caller ID and would have known who it was.
“I mentioned [the newspapers] to my neighbors,” said Johnson. “I didn’t want to get involved — you know how that goes.”
Another neighbor finally called police, she said. John Parrish was taken to HCMC, where Johnson said he is in “tough shape.”
Though she was the main caregiver for her husband, Amy suffered from severe osteoporosis, Johnson said.
The pair intended to stay in their home until the end, she said, despite their age.
“That’s what she wanted,” she said. “I’m sure their kids wanted them to go someplace else.”
Johnson said a Richfield police chaplain told her not to feel bad about not calling sooner. “I will feel better about it eventually,” Johnson said with a sigh.
Bonnie Gruberman, block captain for the Neighborhood Watch program and part of the Richfield police reserve group, called authorities to do a welfare check.
“You just step up,” she said of making the call. “It’s just to be kind.”
Police arrived Sunday morning, Gruberman said, followed by an ambulance and a fire truck. Richfield police did not return calls seeking more information.
Gruberman recalled how Amy Parrish would drive by and then pull over to talk. Sometimes she gave plants to Gruberman, a fellow gardener. “We were just good friends over the years,” she said.
The situation filled her with “consternation and sadness,” she said, noting that it might have taken longer to find the couple if not for neighbors.
Gruberman, who said the couple have children, said neighbors wished the couple had devices that would have allowed them to call for help.
“She was a dear lady,” she said while doing yard work Sunday. “I know that it’s life, but it’s still sad.”