119-year-old woman dies in Arkansas

Mary Thompson

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- Mary Thompson, a woman who might have been recognized as the world's oldest person if her birth certificate hadn't been lost in a house fire, has died. She was 119.

Thompson, who had a taste for Crown Royal whiskey and Juicy Fruit gum, became ill Friday and died Monday at a hospital.

She had lived since age 112 at Crestpark Nursing Home in DeWitt.

The staff doted over "Momma Mary," giving her dollar bills to buy whiskey, said nursing home director Vickie Brown.

On her 119th birthday August 2, Thompson was inundated with cards, flowers and money.
A British television station recorded her saying "Happy Birthday" to the Queen Mother, who turned 101 the next day, and the Wrigley Co. sent her a case of Juicy Fruit.

Social Security records show that she was born on August 2, 1882, in Shelby, Mississippi. Her parents were former slaves.

Thompson lost her birth certificate in a fire about 50 years ago. The Guinness Book of Records says the document would have been necessary to certify her as the world's oldest living person.
Guinness lists Maud Farris-Luse, 114, of Michigan, as the oldest person in the world with documentation.

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