The oldest person in Ohio has died.
Mary Lucretia (Miller) Phelps of New Franklin passed away Monday. She was 112.
Mrs. Phelps was active and relatively healthy until a few months after her birthday in August when her many years finally caught up with her, said Cleta Boyce, her only daughter and longtime caregiver.
“She began to shut down,” she said. “I’m certainly sure the different organs are not used to that age.”
Boyce said she’s read about people living to be 114 in other countries. She said her mother was the oldest in Ohio and the eighth oldest in the country. She was a supercentenarian, the title given to those who live past 110.
“It’s hard for me to accept,” said Boyce, 81, her voice catching. “For my mother, it’s great. She can be with Daddy and is not suffering.”
Boyce said her parents, who were married for 53 years, were wed on Christmas Eve 1926 and are now reunited for the holidays. Her father, Dennis, died in 1980.
“They will have a great celebration very shortly,” she said of her parents’ upcoming anniversary.
Mrs. Phelps was born Aug. 5, 1900, in Johnstown, Pa., and moved to Akron when she was 17 to work at Goodrich, building dirigibles during World War I. This was the only job she held outside the home.
Mrs. Phelps moved in with her daughter after her husband’s passing. Her granddaughter, Renee Winkelblech, lives next door. Boyce persuaded her mother to travel with her and took her to places she’d never been, including New York City to see the Statue of Liberty and Hawaii.
She celebrated her 112th birthday at the Hartville Kitchen with 48 family members and friends, which had become a tradition. She ordered her favorite dish — chicken, noodles and mashed potatoes.
Mrs. Phelps loved to cook and passed on her recipes to her daughter and granddaughter.
Boyce said Thanksgiving wasn’t the same without her mother, but she is thankful to have had her in her life for as long as she did.
“I will certainly miss her,” she said. “My home will never be the same.”
Calling hours will be 5 to 7 p.m. today and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the funeral service at 10:30 a.m., all at Bacher Funeral Home, 3326 Manchester Road. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service, 3358 Ridgewood Road, Akron, OH 44333 or the Akron Baptist Temple, 2324 Manchester Road, Akron, OH 44314.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @swarsmith.