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Ohio woman believed to be oldest person in U.S. dies at age 114

By Hannah Drown • Updated Jan 9, 2019 at 11:57 AM

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS — Lessie Brown of Cleveland Heights, believed to be the oldest person in America, died Tuesday at age 114.

Brown’s daugther, Verline Wilson, confirmed with cleveland.com that she died at approximately 10:45 a.m. Tuesday in her home.

She became the oldest person in the U.S. in May 2018 at 113, according to the Gerontology Research Group in Sandy Springs, Ga.

Brown was born in Atlanta in 1904 and moved to Northeast Ohio at 18. She married, built a home with her husband in Bedford and had five children. Her family estimates she has more than 50 descendants, including two great-great-great grandchildren — Aleigha, 1, and Jacob McVety, 2 months, of Celina.

On a Saturday afternoon last September, she celebrated yet another birthday at her home. On the occasion, she was surrounded by family and friends who couldn't say enough nice things about the woman who they described as strong and determined, yet gentle and loving.

Two of three of Brown's living children, Vivian Hatcher, 90, and Verline Wilson, 89, as well as grandchildren, and a great grandchild attended the small gather at the home she shared with her daughter Verline.

When reporters asked her family what they attribute her longevity to, her granddaughter replied, “sweet potatoes and her faith in God.”

Brown ate a sweet potato everyday until she was 110. The also say that working on the farm in Bedford, built by her husband, helped keep her in great shape.

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