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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fred Hale Sr., the oldest man in the world according to Guinness World Records, has died less than two weeks shy of his 114th birthday.
Hale died in his sleep on Friday at an assisted living home near Syracuse, New York, after recovering from a bout of pneumonia, Fred Hale III, 51, the youngest of Hale's nine grandchildren, said on Saturday.
Hale, one of two children, was born on a farm in New Sharon, Maine, on December 1, 1890, before cars and airplanes and in the same year Sioux Indians were massacred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
"He was 17 or 18 before he saw his first car," his grandson told Reuters. "His dad and him heard one was coming to town and went down by the fence and waited for the car to come by. He was basically too old to serve in World War One. He already had two kids by then."
Hale worked as a railroad postal carrier, retiring 51 years ago. After his wife, Flora, died in 1979, he continued to live independently in South Portland, Maine, until he was about 109, when he moved closer to his son Fred Hale Jr., now 82.
When you think of all the changes he experienced, and the differences in the world around him from 1890 to 2004 - it's really quite incredible.