Alelia Murphy, widely believed to be the oldest American, has died. Murphy was 114 years and 140 days old, and had celebrated her most recent birthday in July.
Healthcare union 1199 SEIU announced Murphy's passing, noting, "Our deepest condolences are with Mrs. Murphy's daughter, 1199SEIU Montefiore retiree Rose Green, and with the rest of their family during this difficult time." The cause of death was not announced.
Murphy was born in North Carolina in 1905, moving to Harlem in 1926 "because she wanted to be a part of the Harlem renaissance in the 1920s," according to PIX 11. A widow since 1953, Murphy raised a daughter and a son and worked as a seamstress.
Her involvement in her local church and community organization made her an "icon."
During her 114th birthday celebration, one of her granddaughters, Nefer Nekhet, told PIX 11, “My grandmother, her strength, I don’t know where she gets it from, but she has been through so many things. She is the glue that holds this family together. We ask her ‘Grandma, you been here for a very long time’ and she said ‘I’m here because you all don’t know how to live, I’m here to teach you all how to live and things to do!'"
Murphy said the secret to her long life was “Trust in God and be a good person.”
1199 SEIU said that funeral services for Murphy will take place on Friday, December 6th at the United House of Prayer for All People in Harlem, with a viewing from 5-7 p.m. followed by the service.
The title of oldest American has now reportedly passed to one Hester Ford, a 114-year-old woman who was born in South Carolina in 1905. The oldest person in the world is still believed to be Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old Japanese woman.