Man believed to be oldest in U.S. dies at age 114

posted 2004-02-25 11:16:10 by doug

CLINTON, Maryland (AP) -- William Coates, believed to be the oldest man in the United States, died Monday at age 114.

Coates died with two of his children and a granddaughter at his side.

Even at age 110, Coates was still charming the ladies during Prince George's County's annual celebration of centenarians.

"He really lit up every single party and event that we had for the seniors," said Irving Smith, director of the Evelyn Cole Senior Center in Seat Pleasant, who has done extensive research on centenarians.

Coates was born June 2, 1889, and according to Smith, he was the oldest man in America. At one time he was believed to be the second-oldest man in the world, although he didn't have a birth certificate to prove it.

"It really was a blessing that my father lived so long," said daughter Maxine Coates. "He enjoyed life and being with his family."

William Coates worked on a commercial tobacco farm until he got a job building roads for the state of Maryland.

He had nine children, 21 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.