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Oldest American Mamie Rearden dies at 114

Jan. 5, 2013 at 8:41 PM

EDGEFIELD, S.C., Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Mamie J. Lewis Rearden, who was the oldest person in the United States for 16 days, has died in South Carolina, her family said. She was 114.

Rearden, a retired educator and social worker born in Edgefield in 1898 and died there Wednesday, The Edgefield Advertiser reported. She had been hospitalized for about three weeks after breaking a hip, The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle reported.

Mamie Rearden became the oldest living person in the United States after a 115-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, woman, Dina Manfredini, died Dec. 17.

The mantle now belongs to Elsie Thompson, 113, of Clearwater, Fla. Thompson was born April 5, 1899.

"She was exceptional. She was just a phenomenal woman," Sara Rearden said of her mother.

She told the Chronicle her mother taught her and her siblings not to be judgmental of others.

"You don't know why that person was behaving the way they were behaving," she quoted her mother's advice "Treat others like you want to be treated."

Sharing was another value she passed along, the younger Rearden said, noting if her mother had an orange, all 11 kids got a slice.

Her mother didn't learn to drive until she was 65.

"She was very eager to be independent and not rely on other people to do for her," Sara Rearden said.

Rearden was married for 59 years to Oacey Rearden. She is survived by four daughters, six sons, 15 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by one son.

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