2009-07-01 / Local News

Resident turns 114, becomes fourth oldest person in world

Frank Kelly of Snyder, who lived next door to Olivia Patricia Thomas for more than 50 years, gives her a dozen red roses at her 114th birthday party held Monday at the St. Francis Home in Williamsville. Photo by Jim Smerecak Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Frank Kelly of Snyder, who lived next door to Olivia Patricia Thomas for more than 50 years, gives her a dozen red roses at her 114th birthday party held Monday at the St. Francis Home in Williamsville. Photo by Jim Smerecak Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Olivia Patricia Thomas celebrated another birthday on Monday — her 114th.

A resident at St. Francis on Reist Street, Thomas marked the day with a cake and party at the facility.

Born June 29, 1895, in Iowa, she is the oldest resident in New York State, the third oldest U.S. citizen, and the fourth oldest person in the world.

Her former neighbor, Frank Kelly, had the information validated through the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps a record of supercentenarians: someone 110 and older.

Thomas has been a resident of St. Francis since 2004. Until she was 109 she lived on her own in Snyder with the help of Kelly.

She met her late husband, Frederick, in grade school, and they married in 1923. They moved to Buffalo in 1946 when he began teaching engineering at the University at Buffalo.

Active in many garden clubs, Thomas became known as "the plant lady."

In addition to gardening, Thomas taught classes about the benefit of herbs, which many believe is the secret to her longevity. She also enjoys painting.

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