|Mary Josephine Ray|
|Born||Mary Josephine Arsenault
May 17, 1895
Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island,
|Died||March 7, 2010
(aged 114 years, 294 days)
Westmoreland, New Hampshire,
|Known for||Second-oldest verified living person from Sept 11 2009 until her death
Oldest person living in the United States from Sept 11 2009 until her death
Mary Josephine Ray (née Arsenault; May 17, 1895 – March 7, 2010) was the world's second-oldest verified living person at the time of her death. Following the death of Gertrude Baines on 11 September 2009, Ray became the oldest person living in the United States.
She was the oldest recorded person ever to live in New Hampshire, although the oldest person born in New Hampshire was Nellie Spencer (1869–1982), who lived to age 113 years 81 days. Ray was also the oldest person ever recorded born in Prince Edward Island and the third-oldest person ever born in Canada. Since the death of Maria de Jesus from Portugal, she was also the oldest person of European descent in the world. She also ranked as one of the 30 oldest verified supercentenarians in history.
Born in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, Canada to French Canadian (Acadian) parents, Sabin Arsenault and Lydie Anne Blanchard, Mary Josephine moved to the United States at age three. Her father died when she was 7 and her mother also died when she was 15. Mary went out on her own, working in factories in Maine. Later she married Walter Ray (in the 1920s; he died in 1967) and moved to New Hampshire. Later, Mary Jo retired to Florida at age 80. She lived there on her own until 100, when her family brought her back to New Hampshire. At age 102, she moved into a nursing home when the family felt they could no longer care for her at home. Her paternal grandmother, Agnès Arsenault, died at the age of 97 in 1909.
Mary Josephine Arsenault married Walter Ray circa 1923. The 1930 census listing for Walter Ray lists him as age 36, married at 28; and Mary Josephine as age 34 (it was in April), married at 27. Ray had two sons, both living: Robert, 86, of Pensacola, Florida and Donald, 85, of Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Her eight grandchildren are also still alive. In all, Ray has two sons, eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.
Ray followed, as much as possible, the Red Sox baseball team. After watching baseball games, she often had cake and ice cream. At her 108th birthday celebration, she was greeted with the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and a cake with the Red Sox symbol on it. Ray continued to buy Red Sox merchandise, and commented that she intended to continue doing so. Fred Hale, who lived to be 113 years 354 days old, was also a fan of the team.