Woman considered oldest Texan dies at 114
Arbella Perkins Ewings, who one group says was the second-oldest American, was honored by the city of Dallas on her last birthday
DALLAS - A 114-year-old woman, considered the oldest person in Texas, has died at a Dallas retirement home.
Arbella Perkins Ewings celebrated her birthday March 13 with a proclamation from 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.
Ewings died Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Village, a spokeswoman for Evergreen Funeral Home said.
"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."
At the time of her death, Ewings was the oldest person in Texas, the second-oldest American and the third-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, a California group that tracks the world's oldest people.
As of March 1, the organization had validated 81 "supercentenarians," who were at least 110 years old. The oldest, Edna Parker, of Indiana, will turn 115 in April, and the second-oldest, Maria de Jesus, of Portugal, turned 114 in September.
Ewings was born March 13, 1894, the fourth oldest of 12 children whose great-grandparents had been slaves in Mississippi. She married Frank Ewings in 1915, and they moved to South Dallas in 1936, where she worked as a housekeeper until the 1960s.
Frank Ewings 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," great-grandniece Ruby Perkins Williams said.
Ewings 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.