Mary Josephine Ray
|Mary Josephine Ray|
|Born||Mary Josephine Arsenault
May 17, 1895
Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, Canada
|Died||March 7, 2010
(aged 114 years, 294 days)
Westmoreland, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Known for||Second-oldest verified living person from September 11, 2009, until her death
Oldest person living in the United States from September 11, 2009, until her death
Mary Josephine Ray (née Arsenault; May 17, 1895 – March 7, 2010) was a Canadian American supercentenarian. At the time of her death, she was the world's second-oldest verified living person. Following the death of Gertrude Baines on September 11, 2009, Ray became the oldest person living in the United States.
She was the oldest recorded person ever to live in New Hampshire, although the oldest person born in New Hampshire was Nellie Spencer (1869–1982), who lived to age 113 years 81 days. Ray was also the oldest person ever recorded born in Prince Edward Island and the fourth-oldest person ever born in Canada. She was also ranked as one of the 35 oldest verified people in history.
Born in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island to French Canadian (Acadian) parents, Sabin Arsenault and Lydie Anne Blanchard, Mary Josephine moved to the United States at age three. Her father died when she was 7 and her mother also died when she was 15. Mary went out on her own, working in factories in Maine. In the 1920s she married Walter Ray (died 1967), and moved to New Hampshire. She retired to Florida, aged 80, and lived there on her own until age 100, when her family brought her back to New Hampshire. At age 102, she moved into a nursing home when the family felt they could no longer care for her at home.
Arsenault married Walter Ray circa 1923. The 1930 census listing for Walter Ray lists him as age 36, married at 28; and Mary Josephine as age 34 (it was in April), married at 27. Ray had two sons, both living: Robert, 86, of Pensacola, Florida and Donald, 85, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. In all, she had two sons, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
Ray followed, as much as possible, the Boston Red Sox baseball team. After watching baseball games, she often had cake and ice cream. At her 108th birthday celebration, she was greeted with the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a cake with the Red Sox symbol on it. Ray continued to buy Red Sox merchandise, and commented that she intended to continue doing so. Fred Hale, who lived to be 113 years 354 days old, was also a fan of the team.
- "Mary Ray Dies at 114", by Casey Farrar, New Hampshire SentinelSource (March 8, 2010)
- Associated Press obituary via Yahoo News (March 8, 2010)
- "Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- David P. Greisman (2008-05-19). "World’s eighth-oldest person, longtime Red Sox fan celebrates birthday". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Kirst, Sean (2004-10-25). Oldest Red Sox fan not betting on outcome. Mary was the oldest Boston Red Sox fan to ever live. The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)