The fifth-oldest person in the world and Massachusetts’s oldest resident has died, leaving the legacy of a boisterous woman with a cheeky sense of humor.
Cheshire resident Bernice Emerson Madigan passed away at the age of 115 at a Williamstown nursing center last weekend.
Born on July 24, 1899, she was the fifth-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group.
"She was the most wonderful, sweet lady," said Audrey Kingston, a nurse who cared for Madigan before her passing. "She had a wonderful sense of humor...She was still able to walk around and joke right up until her passing. She had a very kind heart. She loved socialization. One male nurse here said, 'If I were 115 yeras old I would be chasing you around.' Her response was, 'Who says that I would want you?'"
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She wore her age with pride. Madigan's neice recently bought her a shirt that said, "I'm trying to live forever. So far so good," Kingston said.
"We all thought she might even make it to 116. She had the determination to do so," Kingston said.
Madigan was born in West Springfield, and she moved to Cheshire in 1906. She was married for 50 years before her husband Paul passed away in 1976.
Madigan credited her longevity to lasting friendships, a positive attitude, her lack of children, eating hot breakfasts, enjoying occasional wine, and a daily spoonful of honey. She also kept up with the times on herFacebook pageandTwitter accounts. Madigan had nearly 25,0000 Twitter followers at the time of her death, though she had only published five tweets.
A funeral is scheduled for Saturday.