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Bertha Fry

Gerontology Research Group
Validated By: Gerontology Research Group On Date: Dec. 02nd 2003

Bertha Fry (née VanOsdol) was an American supercentenarian who, upon her death, was the third-oldest known person in the world. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ). Despite reaching the age of 113 years, 348 days, Fry was never the oldest living person in the United States or even in the state of Indiana, as Edna Parker outlived her.


Fry was born as Bertha VanOsdol on a farm in Vevay, Indiana, on 1 December 1893. Her father, Morton, lived to be 95, and her mother, Lillie, almost reached 90. Aged 16, she survived a poorly performed surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids.

Fry’s family were among the first in Vevay to own a radio, a telephone, and have electricity. She attended Hanover College, where she met her first husband Thomas Gray. They moved back to Fry’s hometown, where she worked as a teacher in the one-room schoolhouse for four years. The couple had two children, Wayne and Barbara. She was widowed in the late 1930s.

During World War II, Fry married her second husband, Harry Fry, whom she knew from grammar school. She lived in Indianapolis until her daughter moved her closer to her following a great snowstorm.

In 1978, Fry moved to a retirement community in Muncie, Indiana, living independently until a few months before her death. At the time of her 110th birthday, she had, along with her two children, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren – she would later become a great-great-grandmother. She still attended exercise classes aged 111.

Fry died on 14 November 2007 following a brief illness at the age of 113 years, 348 days. She was the third-oldest person in the world whose age has been validated, after fellow Indiana resident Edna Parker and Portugal’s Maria de Jesus.

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Fry’s age was verified by Robert Young and validated by the GRG on 2 December 2003, one day after attaining supercentenarian status.

On 21 April 2007, Fry met with the aforementioned Edna Parker, who had just celebrated her 114th birthday, setting the current record for the greatest combined age of two people meeting at over 227 years.

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