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Mary Josephine Ray, oldest American, dies at 114

WESTMORELAND, N.H. - Mary Josephine Ray, the New Hampshire woman who was certified as the oldest person living in the United States, has died at age 114 years, 294 days.

She died Sunday in a nursing home in Westmoreland but had been active until about two weeks before her death, her granddaughter Katherine Ray said.

"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 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 now Neva Morris, of Ames, Iowa, at age 114 years, 216 days. The oldest person in the world is Japan's Kama Chinen at 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. Survivors include two sons, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

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