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Mary Josephine Ray

Gerontology Research Group
Validated By: Gerontology Research Group On Date: Mar. 11th 2006

Mary Josephine Ray (née Arsenault) was a Canadian-born American supercentenarian who was the oldest living person in the United States, and the world's second-oldest living person at the time of her death. She is also the oldest person ever born in the Province of Prince Edward Island, and the oldest person who died in the U.S. state of New Hampshire.


Ray was born as Mary Josephine Arsenault in Bloomfield, Prince County, Prince Edward Island, Canada, on 17 May 1895, to parents Robert Fabien Arsenault (1851–1903) and Lidie Ann Blanchard (1858–1910). She had six siblings: Jean Jacques (1884–1904), François (born 1886), Célina (born 1887), Agnes (born 1888), André Edmond (born 1893), and Joseph Paul (1897–1974). When she was 3 years old, the family moved to Maine, USA, where her parents searched for work. Her father died in November 1903, when she was 8 years old. At the age of 14, she moved back to Canada with her mother, who passed away within the year, in September 1910, when Ray was 15 years old. Not long after, the siblings returned to the United States, where she started working as a housekeeper and store clerk to support herself.

In 1923, she married Walter Howard Ray (1893–1967). The couple had two sons: Robert Ray (1923–2017) and Donald K. Ray (1925–2015). At the age of 72, following the death of her husband, she moved from Anson, Maine to Florida. At the age of 80, she moved to Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

In 2002, she decided to move into the Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, to be near her children. She was taking part in the New England Centenarian Study. She was an avid Red Sox fan and collected Red Sox merchandise. Her 108th birthday cake had a Red Sox symbol on it. At the age of 114, she was still playing cards. It was reported she was physically active until about two weeks before her death, even having an interview a week before her death.

Ray passed away at a nursing home in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, USA, on 7 March 2010, at the age of 114 years, 294 days. She was survived by two sons, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

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In May 2005, she celebrated her 110th birthday, becoming the first supercentenarian who was born in the Province of Prince Edward Island. She remains the oldest person ever born in the Province.

Her age was validated by the Gerontology Research Group on 11 March 2006.

On 16 February 2008, at the age of 112 years, 275 days, she surpassed the final age of Sadie Mayer (1879–1992), becoming the oldest person ever in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. She would later become the first person in the state to reach the ages of 113 and 114.

On 11 September 2009, following the death of 115-year-old Gertrude Baines, she became the oldest living person in the United States, as well as the second-oldest living person in the world, behind Kama Chinen of Japan, who was a week older than Ray.

Upon her death, Neva Morris became the oldest living person in the United States and the second-oldest living person in the world.

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* “Mary Josephine Arsenault Ray (1895-2010)” – Find a Grave

* “P.E.I.-born woman dies at 114” – CBC News, 8 March 2010

* “Mary Ray, 114: Oldest citizen of both Canada and U.S.” – Toronto Star, 9 March 2010