Moses Hardy, 113; thought to be the last black U.S. veteran of WWI

From the Associated Press

Moses Hardy, believed to be the second-oldest man in the world and the last black U.S. veteran of World War I, has died, family members said Friday. He was 113.

Evelyn Davis, one of Hardy's eight children, said her father died Thursday at a nursing home in his hometown of Aberdeen, Miss.

"He had been doing great. He didn't suffer, and he wasn't sick -- he died of old age," said Davis, 68, also of Aberdeen. "He knew everybody, and those he knew he [recognized] when they came in to visit."

Robert Young, senior claims investigator for the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, said research by his organization, National Public Radio and others had been unable to locate any other surviving black World War I veterans. He said only about a dozen American veterans of that war remain.

Young said Hardy had been No. 6 on Guinness' list of the world's oldest people. Elizabeth Bolden, at 116, of Memphis, Tenn., is believed to be the oldest person, Young added, while the oldest man on the list is 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico.

Del Toro is also a veteran, but Young said he had been in military training when World War I ended and was never sent overseas.

He said Hardy was sent to France and apparently saw some combat.

Young said census records showed that Hardy's father was born in the 1830s and that both of Hardy's parents were slaves.

National Public Radio "did a story for Veterans Day and interviewed Moses Hardy and a daughter," Young said.

"According to the NPR story, after the Civil War ended, his parents took a plot of land, and the family still has the land," Young said.

Davis said she would remember her father's "very calm and peaceful personality. He lived for a very long time. We knew this could happen at any time."

Funeral services are scheduled for Sunday.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World