Morris, at age 110, wearing the hat presented to her by the Red Hat Society in October 2005.
August 3, 1895
Ames, Iowa, United States
|Died||April 6, 2010
(aged 114 years, 246 days)
Ames, Iowa, United States
|Title||Oldest living person in the United States (March 7, 2010 – April 6, 2010)|
|Spouse(s)||Edward Morris (1914–60)|
|Parent(s)||Schuyler and Cambia Freed|
Neva Morris (née Freed; August 3, 1895 – April 6, 2010) was an American supercentenarian. At the age of 114 years, 246 days, she was the oldest verified living person in the United States following the death of 114-year-old Mary Josephine Ray and the last known living American born in 1895. On December 22, 2009, Morris, aged 114 years 141 days, surpassed Olivia Patricia Thomas as the oldest Iowan ever verified. On February 13, 2010, Morris became one of the 40 oldest people ever.
Born in Ames, Iowa, where she lived her entire life, to Schuyler and Cambia Freed as the youngest of four children. Neva Freed married Edward Leonard Morris in 1914. The couple had four children: Leslee, Mary Jane, Walter, and Bettylee. They lived with Edward’s parents, Gertrude Rutherford and Walter Leonard Morris, on a farm encompassing 224 acres (0.91 km2) of land. She assisted in helping her four children attend Iowa State University by raising chickens, hogs and dairy cattle.
Neva's son-in-law, 95-year-old Tom Wickersham, who lived in the same retirement home as Morris, said “It didn’t hurt that she worked hard all her life and ate hearty and healthy meals prepared from meat, dairy products and vegetables produced on the farm.” Walter Morris, age 87, Neva’s youngest son and only living child, believed that her secret was her passion for fast cars, as witnessed by her 80-year accident-free driving record. Aged 90 years, she purchased a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis. She discontinued driving when she was 95 years of age.
Morris was a member of PEO Chapter OH, a 60-year member of Collegiate United Methodist Church, and for 75 years was active in Eastern Star. She also enjoyed singing in women’s choral groups, including one in Gilbert and the Story County Women’s Chorus under the direction of Max Exner. Neva particularly loved to sing “You Are My Sunshine.”
Morris' husband Edward died in 1960. At age 99, Morris moved from her farm home to North Grand Care Center and later to Northcrest Community in 1998. According to Wickersham in March 2010, she "had hearing and vision loss but was able to participate in limited activity at the nursing home".
At about 4 a.m. on April 6, 2010, Morris died with her 90-year-old son-in-law by her side. She was the second oldest living person in the world, and the last American born in 1895. She is survived by one son, eight grandchildren, nineteen great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren.
- List of supercentenarians from the United States
- List of the verified oldest people
- List of verified supercentenarians who died in 2010
- "Oldest Iowan Birthplace". Ames Tribune. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
- Krogstad, Jens Manuel (2010-03-09). "Oldest American lives in Ames and, at 114, sings a sunny duet". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2010-03-13.[dead link]
- Pusey, James (2009-10-24). "ISU researcher searches for the recipe for long life". Ames Tribune. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
- Associated Press (2010-04-06). "Oldest American dies at 114 in Iowa". WCF Courier. Retrieved 2010-04-06.