Lessie Brown, oldest person in the US, dies at 114

NEW YORK — Lessie Brown, a 114-year-old Ohio woman who was believed to be the oldest person in the country, died Tuesday, her grandson said.

Mrs. Brown, who was living with one of her daughters, died at the home in Cleveland Heights, Ronald Wilson said.

Other family members had attributed her long life to the fact that she ate a sweet potato nearly every day until she was well past 100.

‘‘Oh I don’t know,’’ she told WJW-TV when she celebrated her 109th birthday in 2013. “A lot of them say it’s because I ate a lot of sweet potatoes, but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know, God’s will,’’


Born in 1904 in Georgia, she grew up on a farm near Stockbridge, outside Atlanta. She was one of 12 children and moved to Cleveland with her family when she was 18.

She married about four years later and had three girls and two boys. Her husband, Robert Brown, died in 1991.

Mrs. Brown’s daughter, Verline Wilson, told Cleveland.com that her mother responded, ‘‘That’s good,’’ when she told her in 2018 that she was the country’s oldest person following the May 9, 2018, death of 114-year-old Delphine Gibson, of Huntingdon, Pa.

It was not clear who is now the oldest American.

The world’s oldest person is believed to be 116-year-old Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman who lives on the southern island of Kyushu.