Obituary: Elsie Thompson / Oldest living person in U.S. since January

April 5, 1899 -- March 21, 2013

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A 113-year-old Beaver Falls native who in January became the oldest living American has died.

Elsie Thompson, who lived in Clearwater, Fla., died in her home March 21.

Mrs. Thompson became the oldest living American on Jan. 23, after the death of Mamie Rearden, a South Carolina resident who lived to be 114.

Mrs. Thompson was born in Beaver Falls on April 5, 1899, and grew up in East Liberty. She married Ronald L. Thompson, a Republican state legislator who represented Mt. Lebanon for 22 years, in 1921. When he retired in 1971, the couple moved to Clearwater. Mr. Thompson died in 1986.

After her husband's death, her son, George Thompson of Thousand Oaks, Calif., asked her to move to the West Coast to be closer, but Mrs. Thompson didn't want to leave her friends and her home behind. She made annual trips to California at Christmas to visit her son, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren until she got sick during a trip when she was 102 and a doctor told her to stop traveling.

Mr. Thompson and his family then started vising her in Clearwater.

He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in February that his mother was a thoughtful woman.

"She'll sit on the couch and say, 'Isn't it a beautiful day? Do you have everything you need? Can I get you anything?' " he said.

"She's one in a million."

In her obituary, the family thanked all of her caregivers, including Susie Porter, who cared for Mrs. Thompson for more than 13 years.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Thompson is survived by three grandsons and six great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were held at Skycrest United Methodist Church in Clearwater. Ms. Thompson will be buried in Mt. Lebanon.

Memorial donations can be made to Suncoast Hospice in Clearwater or the American Heart Association.

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