(NEWS ARTICLE) TIFFIN - Audrey E. Lott, granddaughter of a former slave who last month joined an elite group of super centenarians, those who lived to be 110 or older, died on Thursday at St. Francis Home in Tiffin, where she had lived since 2002.
Her great-granddaughter, Angie Bulger, said cause of death was unknown, although Mrs. Lott was in failing health and suffered diabetes.
Mrs. Lott was born on Oct. 18, 1903, to Louis and Estelle Brown in Washington, the nation's capital, where she went to Dunbar High School, the first black public high school.
She attended a pharmacology college for a year, thanks to her uncle, Ms. Bulger said. "Her uncle was a pharmacist," she said, and "He paid for [her tuition] while she worked in his store."
After her father died, she dropped out of college to take care of her family, Ms. Bulger said.
Her father worked in a fish market and contracted tuberculosis. He died when he was 35.
Her grandfather, the former slave, was a water boy for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War and, thanks to General Grant's help, got a job in government, Mrs. Lott said in an interview in 2012.
Mrs. Lott, the eldest of four children, left the drug store to be a maid at the Daughters of the American Revolution House in Washington.
Her first marriage was to Grant Taylor, who died young. The marriage produced Mrs. Lott's only child. The younger Grant Taylor became the first black postmaster in Tiffin.
She married Clentis Lott in 1947. After his death she moved to be near her son in Tiffin in the 1960s, where she was a housekeeper for area families.
She eventually moved into Kiwanis Manor, an apartment building for senior citizens, where she lived independently until she was 99 and suffered a broken hip.
Ms. Bulger said her great-grandmother remained lively and "on top of it" until her death.
"She was a little spunky thing," she said. "She still had her wits about her."
While her short-term memory may have suffered lapses, her long-term memories were strong, Ms. Bulger said.
She enjoyed visits with Ms. Bulger's children, and she "loved watching golf. She didn't understand how it worked, but she liked watching [golfers] hit the ball."
She enjoyed reading books, preferably old westerns, Ms. Bulger said, and she worked crossword puzzles and crocheted blankets for fellow residents.
Mrs. Lott attributed her longevity to healthy living and eating food from the garden. Ms. Bulger said.
"We ate like we should. There wasn't no junk food when I came along. We came up on good solid food," she said in 2012.
Ms. Bulger also noted that her great-grandmother also "enjoyed eating a raw onion a day and her collard greens."
For her 110th birthday last month, she received a congratulatory message from Gov. John Kasich, and the St. Francis community threw a party.
She is survived by six grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and an undetermined number of great-great-grandchildren, and beyond, Ms. Bulger said.
"We lost track of the number because most of them live out of state," Ms. Bulger said.
Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. and the funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Hoffmann-Gottfried-Mack Funeral Home & Crematory, 236 S. Washington St., Tiffin.
Her family suggests that instead of flowers or memorials, donations be made in care of the mortuary to defray the cost of the funeral.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: email@example.com or 419-724-6050.
Published in Toledo Blade on Nov. 4, 2013