Beloved Collier Row milkman 'Lucky Joe' dies aged 99
- Credit: McCall family
Tributes have been paid to a retired Collier Row milkman who died earlier this month.
Born in Islington in 1922, Joseph McCall spent the first years of his adult life at war, working as a member of ground staff for the Royal Air Force in Burma.
Though stationed at Wittering, in 1948 Joseph was drafted to help distribute rations in Hornchurch, where he met Betty in the Elm Park Assembly Rooms.
Two weeks after their first meeting, he proposed, and four months after that they were wed at St Michael’s Church in Gidea Park.
Joseph was demobilised in 1949 and took up a job as a milkman in Collier Row. His float's number seven earned Joseph the nickname “Lucky Joe”.
“He was very proud of his milk round; he was very much liked,” remembered Betty, who said she still heard from some of his former customers.
His daughter Mary Larne said: “He was quite a character when he was on the milk round. He was a quiet man who would do anything for anybody."
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He continued his milk round until 1988.
Joseph and Betty lived together at her parents’ house in Gidea Park until 1953, when they bought a bungalow in Harold Park and moved in with their daughter Mary, born two years earlier.
The couple’s long, happy marriage kept them in Harold Park for more than six decades – and the Recorder captured their blue sapphire wedding anniversary in 2013.
Betty said: “He was a very happy man, a very easy man to live with. I can’t fault him really.”
In November 2020, they moved to Dorset to be closer to Mary’s family.
Joseph McCall had a stroke on November 24 this year and died on December 8 at the age of 99.
“It’s a dreadful loss – I’ve been married 73 years and I’ve never been without him,” said Betty.
“He was very special; he never saw no wrong in anybody; I’ve lost a great friend.”
He will be remembered by his wife Betty McCall, his daughter Mary Larner, grandson Mark Nagel and great-grandchildren Grace and Thomas Baird.
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