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Claudia Ketcham

Validated By: On Date: Jun. 01st 2009

Claudia F. Ketcham (née Smith, formerly Wren) was an American supercentenarian who was among the top five oldest residents of the state of Iowa upon her death. Her age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ).


Ketcham was born as Claudia F. Smith in Humphreys, Missouri on 1 December 1897 as the second child of Thomas Hardy Smith and Sarah M. V. Boxwell. She had an older sister, Pearl, as well as nine half-siblings from her father’s previous marriage. Her father died in 1899 aged 62, and Ketcham moved with her sister and mother to Waterloo, Iowa by 1910.

Ketcham married Clarence S. “Whitey” Wren on 19 March 1917. The couple had two children: Rosamond, who died in infancy in 1918, and Betty, born in 1923, who outlived her. After her husband’s death in 1954, she remarried to Rev. Harry Ketcham, known as Pop.

Ketcham was a homemaker throughout her adult life, and also did missionary work with her second husband. She loved the company of others, and was regularly heard saying to people, “Bless your heart!” She opened her house to guests to celebrate her 108th and 109th birthdays.

Ketcham died on 20 October 2008 in her home at the age of 110 years, 324 days. She was survived by her daughter Betty, as well as three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and 16 great-great-grandchildren.

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Ketcham was reported by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier on her 108th and 109th birthdays. The newspaper also published an online article in May 2006, as well as an obituary after Ketcham’s death.

Ketcham’s age was verified by Filipe Prista Lucas and validated by the GRG on 1 June 2009.