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Mary L. Parr, 113; Said to Be Oldest Resident of U.S.

October 31, 2002|From Associated Press

Mary L. Parr, believed to be the oldest person in the United States and second-oldest in the world, died Tuesday at a retirement community in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was 113.

Parr was determined to be the oldest resident of the United States by the Gerontology Research Group, a nonprofit organization that studies aging. She succeeded Adelina Domingues, a California woman who died Aug. 21 at the age of 114.

Parr, born Feb. 1, 1889, in Mishawaka, Ind., was the world's second-oldest person at the time of her death, the group said. Only Kamato Hongo, a 115-year-old Japanese woman, had an authenticated age older than Parr's.

Parr often told the secret of her longevity: never getting married.

She spent many years working for the American Red Cross in Cape May, N.J., first as a volunteer during World War I and then as a paid employee. She also worked for the South Carolina Tuberculosis Organization, then moved to Asheville, N.C., to care for her parents, both of whom lived well into their 90s.

Parr moved to Suncoast Manor, a retirement community in the Pinellas Point neighborhood of St. Petersburg, in 1965 and lived there on her own in an apartment until she was 107.

Another Florida resident has apparently become the oldest U.S. resident, according to the gerontology group. John McMorran, a former smoker who lives in a Lakeland nursing home, is 113. He was born June 19, 1889.

Parr is believed to have no living relatives. Her sister, Lillian Prine, died in 1991 at the age of 100.

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