Texan was thought to be the world’s 3rd-oldest person

From the Associated Press

Arbella P. Ewing, considered the oldest person in Texas, the second-oldest person in the United States and the third-oldest in the world, has died. She was 114.

Ewing died Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Village, a retirement home in Dallas, according to a spokeswoman for Evergreen Funeral Home.

She celebrated her birthday March 13 with a proclamation from Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and speeches by friends and family. She blew out all 114 candles on her birthday cake.


But during the party, she warned those attending that she wouldn’t be around much longer.

“She was telling everyone, ‘It’s time to meet my maker,’ ” Sabrina Porter, the retirement home’s executive director, told the Dallas Morning News. “It was a blessing that she went so peacefully.”

Her standing as the oldest person in Texas, the second-oldest American and the third-oldest person in the world, was confirmed by the Gerontology Research Group, a Los Angeles-based group that tracks the world’s oldest people.

As of March 1, the organization had validated 81 “supercentenarians” who were 110 years or older.

The oldest, Edna Parker of Indiana, will turn 115 in April, and the second-oldest, Maria de Jesus of Portugal, turned 114 in September.

Ewing was born March 13, 1894, on a farm in Freestone County, Texas. She was the fourth oldest of 12 children. Her great-grandparents were slaves in Mississippi.

She married Frank Ewing in 1915, and they moved to South Dallas in 1936, where she worked as a housekeeper until the 1960s.


Frank Ewing died in 1977, and the couple’s only daughter, Claudia, died in 1970.

“She told me once that the secret to a long life is she spent six months minding her own business and six months leaving other people alone,” said Ruby Perkins Williams, a great-grandniece.

Ewing was proud of being able to care for herself and her 900-square-foot home well after she turned 100.

She was forced to move into the retirement home after she fell and broke her hip at a family party to celebrate her 113th birthday.

Her only surviving sibling, Annie Lee Perkins, is 103.