A shocked neighbour spotted his friend alive and well walking down the road after being told of his sudden death.
‘Deceased’ Bill Jones was outside his carriage when a surprised neighbour told him that ‘they said you were dead’.
Meanwhile, one of Bill’s other friends received a shock when he called his house after hearing he died and heard Bill, 85, from Tiverton, Devon, answer the phone.
The phone fell silent as his friend couldn’t believe it was Bill’s voice on the other end of the line, DevonLive reported.
A newspaper had printed an obituary column after the death of another Bill Jones, who also had a wive called Pam and had both worked as builders. Bill said he had been a builder before working for 40 years in the insurance industry.
Bill saw the notices in an edition of the Western Morning News on Saturday, April 17, when he first realised he ‘had died’.
Neighbours were shocked when they saw Bill Jones (pictured by his wife Pam’s gravestone), 85, from Tiverton, outside his garage after recently being told that he had died
He explained that the other Bill Jones lived in Alphington in Exeter and that the tale spread around the whole of Tiverton that Bill had gone.
It reached the Halberton Senior Citizens when chairman Julie phoned other members to notify them of Bill’s death.
The chairman got off the bus and was told by Mary, who lives opposite her, if she’d ‘heard about Bill’.
Bill explained: ‘”He passed away yesterday,” she told her. So, she went indoors and phoned other members of the club, including Mary.
‘About ten minutes later, I was out in the garage and Frank, Mary’s husband came walking up the road on the opposite pavement.
‘I said, “hello Frank, how are you?” He stopped, stared, and said, “God, they said you were dead.
‘I told him I was very much alive, and that people had gotten the wrong Bill Jones.’
Bill said that several people had phoned him, including from Heathcoat Cricket Club, where Frank is a member.
One member from the cricket club left a long silence on the phone after Bill spoke, before asking him about the next cricket match.
It came after a local newspaper published an obituary column for another Bill Jones, who had lived in Alphington, Exeter, who also had a wife called Pam and who also was a builder, like Bill from Tiverton, who had been a builder before working in insurance for 40 years
Later, the member said he wasn’t that bothered by the cricket, but thought Bill had died so decided to phone him.
Bill said: ‘It’s a funny sensation when you think other people believe you’re no longer here.’
He added that the mistake would not have happened years ago, when newspapers put an address of the person who had died.
However, Bill explained that this stopped because people were burgled while funerals were going on.
Bill said that people can’t believe it when they see him, after the Bill Jones dying in Alphington suddenly became Bill Jones in Tiverton.
Bill married Pam, who died nine years ago, in 1959, but Bill from Tiverton said that he will be joining her one day, as he has a place in the cemetery in the town, next to his wife’s ashes, which he still visits every day.
He said: ‘It was Pam’s idea to have a stone, as I wanted to be buried. Pam didn’t want to be buried because I’m so keen on keeping the garden tidy at home that if we were in a grave and the children everywhere bar here, she felt I’d be climbing out and putting the place straight if it became untidy.’