No matter where James and Eileen Locke went - a block party, a department store, or even church - neighbors said, the couple were always holding hands.

Neighbors of the Lockes in Havertown recalled that fact Monday and began to cry, wanting to believe the "patriarch and matriarch" of Melrose Avenue were holding hands Saturday night when they were killed while crossing a street.

"I can't even think about it, it's so sad," said Michele Caesar, who lives across the street. "They did everything together."

The Lockes had gone to the New Year's Eve vigil service at St. Pius X Church in Broomall. They always went to church on Saturday, Caesar said.

Marple Township police said the couple parked across from the church on busy Lawrence Road. When they attempted to cross the street after services, they were struck by a northbound vehicle, police said.

Police responded at 5:45 p.m., and James, 74, and Eileen, 73, were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver who struck them stayed at the scene and was transported to Bryn Mawr Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Police Chief Tom Murray told the Delaware County Daily Times on Sunday that no charges had been filed. An officer who handed out a news release Monday afternoon at the Marple police station said he could not comment.

Murray told the newspaper that the section of Lawrence near the church, a four-lane state highway, was "a very dangerous area to cross, especially at night."

A man who answered the door at the St. Pius X rectory declined to comment.

On Melrose, a half-dozen cars were parked outside the home where the Lockes raised seven children. A woman who answered the door said the family was at the funeral home making arrangements.

A daughter of the Lockes, in an email, said the family was "heartbroken" and appreciated the "outpouring of love and support" from the community.

The Caesars said families on Melrose are close, often gathering for block parties and baby-sitting each other's children.

Once, when James Locke thought Michele Caesar had been in a car accident, he came over just to hug her.

"I still can't believe it," said husband Rich Caesar. He said James Locke was a volunteer with the Catholic Youth Organization, mostly in girls' basketball, and was retired from the Budd Co.

Neighbors Ed and Jeane Vetter said the Lockes vacationed in Sea Isle City, N.J., where James would spend his time in the surf fishing for striped bass.

"They kept an eye out for all of us. They were great neighbors," Jeane Vetter said.

She said Eileen Locke worked at a farmers' market in Ardmore.

"It's such a tragedy," she said. "It's a huge loss for everyone."

narkj@phillynews.com

215-854-5916@jasonnark