One of Last Remaining US WWI Vets Dies

At 109, oldest-known American veteran of 'Great War' never actually saw combat
By Kevin Langbaum,  Newser User
Posted Dec 22, 2007 6:13 AM CST
J. Russell Coffey, one of three oldest living World War I veterans known in the U.S., rests while sitting in a wheelchair during an interview at Blakely Care Center in North Baltimore, Ohio, Friday, April...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The oldest-known American World War I veteran—one of only three remaining—has died at age 109, the Toledo Blade reports. J. Russell Coffey, who enlisted in the Army a month before the war ended, was never comfortable with that recognition because he never saw combat. He preferred to be remembered for his accomplishments as a student, an athlete and a longtime educator.

The former Bowling Green State University professor died yesterday of heart failure at a nursing home in Ohio. He drove a car until age 103 and credited physical activity and a healthy diet for his longevity. Frank Buckles, 106, of West Virginia, and Harry Richard Landis, 108, of Florida, are the two remaining US WWI veterans. (Read more World War I stories.)