Maggie Margaret Montague James, the oldest woman in Virginia, died at the age of 112, Friday, according to the Cedell Brooks Funeral Home in Port Royal.
James was the oldest person in Virginia, the 12th oldest person in the United States and the 30th oldest person in the world as of May 27, according to the Gerontology Research Group.
James was born March 10, 1900 in Woodford, Va., and lived there until 2000, when she moved to the Bowling Green Health and Rehabilitation Center. She outlived her husband, George Earnest James, whom she married in 1922, and the couple’s two sons, George and Clarence.
James’ granddaughter, Vernessa Ware, said her grandmother credited her longevity to her ability to follow doctor's orders in sticking with a strict diet, beginning in the 1930s. She says she ate primarily chicken and fish, no pork and very little salt, according to The Free Lance Star.
James’ life revolved around her family and she loved attending church services. She received numerous visitors and flowers, said Sharon Johnson, activities assistant at Bowling Green Health and Rehabilitation Center, according to The Associated Press.
She also kept her family afloat and helped others during the Great Depression. According to her obituary, she provided food from the family’s farm to people in need.
"She sold eggs to keep the house. She raised chickens. She churned butter. She took care of everybody because she was just a strong woman,” Ware said.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Third Mount Zion Baptist Church in Woodford.