An Iowan, who was the oldest living American, died Tuesday morning. Neva Morris of Ames was 114 years, 245 days old. Morris' family said in a statement that she led a "long, charitable and wonderful life." Only one of her four children, a son in Sioux City, Iowa, is still alive.
Morris' son-in-law, Tom Wickersham, said last month that Morris had vision and hearing loss but was "quite mentally alert." She also liked to sing "You Are My Sunshine" nearly every day.
“Well, I guess no one really knows except she must have good genes for one thing,” Wickersham said. “She’s just been a well rounded person who’s had a good purpose for living.” Since 1999 Morris lived at Northcrest Community in Ames. Wickersham, who is 90, also lives at Northcrest. He said Morris had hearing and eyesight problems. She was was aware of the fact she was the oldest living American.
“When one of the caregivers told her that, she made some kind of a remark, ‘oh my’ or something to that effect,” Wickersham said. Neva Morris outlived three of her four children. Her last living child, Walter Morris, lives in Sioux City. Wickersham said Neva loved to sing and had a passion for cars when she lived on her own. He remembered helping Neva purchase her last car, a 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis.
“She just loved that car and was really quite a fast driver,” Wickersham said. “Probably through age 90, she was still going to Des Moines in that car…quite remarkable, she never did have an accident.” The Iowa Department of Aging reports the oldest Iowan now is 113-year-old Dina Manfredini of Johnston
The Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles said Tuesday that the oldest person in the U.S. is now Eunice Sanborn of Jacksonville, Texas. She is 113 years and 260 days. The oldest person in the world is Japan's Kama Chinen at age 114 years, 330 days.