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Mar 8, 2010 5:06 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Woman believed oldest in America dies

A New Hampshire woman certified as the oldest person living in the United States has died.

Mary Josephine Ray died Sunday at a Westmoreland nursing home at 114 years and 294 days old.

Katherine Ray said Monday that her grandmother remained spry until about two weeks before her death.

"She just enjoyed life. She never thought of dying at all," Katherine Ray said. "She was planning for her birthday party."

Even with her recent decline, Ray managed an interview with a reporter last week, her granddaughter said.

The Gerontology Research Group says that until her death, Ray was the oldest person in the United States and the second-oldest in the world. She was also recorded as the oldest person ever to live in New Hampshire.

The oldest living American is Neva Morris, of Ames, Iowa, at 114 years, 216 days.

The oldest person in the world is Japan's Kama Chinen. She is 114 years, 301 days.

Ray was born May 17, 1895 in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, Canada. She moved to the United States at age 3.

She lived for 60 years in Anson, Maine. She lived in Florida, Massachusetts and elsewhere in New Hampshire before she moved to Westmoreland in 2002 to be near her children.

Ray's husband, Walter, died in 1967. She is survived by two sons, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

 

 

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