OT: My Great Grandmother Passed Away on Sunday

Submitted by the_big_house 500th on May 19th, 2010 at 1:16 PM

 On Sunday my dad's family lost a member who ended up being the only person on my dad's side  to reach the age of 90. I am truly stunned how long she was alive for but what really amazes me was the history this woman saw in her years. To think that somebody could live for 90 years is truly a remarkable feat of human achievement. That someone could literally out live their own son or daughter well into their later years is even more shocking. My great grandfather died shortly after World War 2 of a heart attack. His wife Helena McCoy who died on Sunday lived an amazing life when she was alive. She saw some of the most historic parts of human history in her life span! 1920 year she was born. Germany surrenders in WWI. Great Depression hits.  World War II. 1945 atom bomb drops. Cold War. Korean War. Vietnam War. Not to mention Sputnik, first man in space, first American in space, moon landing, Gulf War, Internet, 9/11 etc the list goes on people on how much history she saw. I would have loved to have met her but I knew nothing about her, except for that she lived through some of the world’s most import events. Does anybody else have a great grandmother or great grandfather still alive? If so do they talk about what they have seen throughout their life? I just find these people to be the most amazing and fascinating individuals in society today.



May 19th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

Does anybody else have a great grandmother or father still alive?

I do not.  But my grandmother is 101, still likes beer and a good strong martini, and it took until three years ago to get her to move to a retirement home because "it's full of old people."


May 19th, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

No, I think the first time my grandma utters a single word of foul language, the Large Hadron Collider will produce a solar system-swallowing black hole.  She's the sweetest old lady you'll ever meet.....and she knows it and turns on the sweet old lady charm to get people to do stuff for her.  Like having the Christmas tree delivery guys also hang the lights on it.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

All of my grandparents were born before 1900. My mom's parents died before I was ever born, I only got to know my maternal grandmother very well as she was the last one alive. I have one great-grandfather that fought in the Civil War, generations in my family are long. I find it amazing that you knew a great grandparent at all.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

is in her upper 80's and still drove to work 3 times a week until a year or so ago. All my great grandparents died before I was old enough to meet them, and my grandfather died before I was born.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

My grandmother was born in 1900. She lived to be 92. Interestingly, she was 88 years old on 8/8/88. Imagine what a numerologist would have done with that!


May 19th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

My grandfather is a Gator and hasn't Missed a Michigan home game in over 20 years.  He's also been to Michigan games in all 11 Big Ten stadiums.  The dude is a bro.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

I have a great aunt who is about to turn 105, still living in the Grosse Point area. She didn't move out of her own house until she was almost 100. When I was in high school and still driving out with family from NY for football games, we'd go visit her before going to Ann Arbor.

Crime Reporter

May 19th, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

I have no living grandparents anymore. The last one, my grandma on my mother's side, died two years ago on Christmas Eve. We seem to lose them right at Christmas.

Again, my condolences.


May 19th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

I'm very sorry about your great-grandmother.  I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

My great-grandpa died four years ago at the age of 87.  My grandparents had my mom when they were 17 or 18 (that's how they rolled in Eastern Europe at the time.)

He came to the US to visit a few times and we went to Serbia (then Yugoslavia) to see him when I was four.  He always had his black fedora on, along with a black vest and button down, and no matter what time of day it was, he inevitably had a beer in his hand.  When we asked what kept him healthy, he swore it was (still) making his own Sljivovica (plum brandy).  

Mr. Robot

May 19th, 2010 at 2:12 PM ^

All of my great-granparents were dead before I was born. However, I do still have all 4 of my grandparents, and as of about 4 weeks ago all 4 of them are now great-grandparents by my sister and, much earlier, my cousins having children.

On my dad's side, I do have some knowledge of that side of the family. They were very good about keeping family items, especially pictures, and it is because of this and the good record keeping of my family that I know that part of my blood goes back to the 1600's in America. We also have a picture of a relative who fought in the Civil War, which is pretty neat. I believe that stuff is actually getting passed on to me and my sister, so needless to say, the first thing I will probably do is get a really awesome everything-proof safe...

Everything I know about my dad's side is made up by the lack thereof on my mom's. The family isn't paticularly close, and most of the time I can't even remember which family is the biological and which is the adopted of my grandma from my mom's side. For this reason, I only know half of my ethnic make-up, already very diverse as it is, and am left to totally guess on the other half. I am as mutt as they come, lol.


May 19th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

One of mine lived to 100. Born in rural Italy in 1878 and died in Wilmington, DE in 1979--talk about two different worlds. Her son, my great uncle, emigrated to the US in 1917 to avoid being drafted into the Italian army in WW1 and the rest of the family followed him here a few years later. She outlived her husband by 52 years but was survived by all four of her kids, the youngest of whom (my grandma) died two years ago at 95.

The one time I saw her was in 1975. It wasn't much of a meeting given that I was 5 years old and she was bedridden by then and never spoke much English, but I can still remember it.


May 19th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I had a great grandmother who lived to be 98 or 99.  And actually some of my aunts and cousins on the same side of the family had children pretty young, so she missed out on being a great-great-great grandmother by only a couple years.


May 19th, 2010 at 2:32 PM ^

one of the neighbors used to tell me stories of his time in the army during World War I. That was pretty cool, standing in his yard listening to his tales. It was as if I was in a conduit to another time. I liked hearing his stories but I wish now I would of went and spoke to him more often.

Feat of Clay

May 19th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

Sorry for your family's loss--it's wonderful that she lived so long, especially if those last years were good ones!

I urge anyone with elderly living relatives FOR GOD'S SAKE get some of their stories out of them and recorded for posterity.  Even the ones you've heard a thousand times that usually have you bolting out of the room with your eyes rolling on Thanksgiving when you have to hear it for the dozenth time.

I've recently gotten into family history and it just kills me that I can't ask my grandmothers or my mother even the simplest of questions, because they are gone.  I've forgotten the details of some of the tales they told me when I was younger.  You assume there will be time to hear them again--and then there isn't.  It kills me whenever I hear "StoryCorps" on NPR.

It doesn't have to just be the big questions, like "what was the depression like" or "what do you remember about the war?"  The mundane questions may yield the best stuff.  Ask them what their school was like.  Ask them what chores they did growing up.  Ask them how they celebrated their birthdays.  Ask them about their first job.  How they met their spouse.  How they got engaged.  Ask ask ask, and preserve it somewhere.


May 19th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

My condolences for your loss.  I just lost my first grandparent--my grandfather at age 89.  The other three are still ticking along, all over 90.  My great-grandmother lived to be 97.

I'm apparently going to live forever if this beer doesn't kill me. 



May 19th, 2010 at 10:43 PM ^

I had a great grandma when I was much younger. But much more fascinating is that my cousin who will have a kid in a couple months has a great-grandma still alive. Which means that this kid will have a Great-Great-Grandma. Think about it. Your grandma's grandma is still alive.