Myrtle Weston, who grew up in Chicago but raised her own family of 11 children on a Minnesota farm, died Feb. 1 in Aitkin, Minn., at the age of 109.
She met her husband, Charles (Charley) Weston, on a visit to her sister, who had married his brother. They married in 1921 and established a sawmill and farm in Palisade, Minn.
"We think it was quite well- planned," daughter Maxine Carlson of Royalton, Minn., said of the courtship. "Mother always said it was love at first sight."
Over the years, "she mended a lot of socks" and saw a lot of changes, her daughter said.
Weston told family members of childhood rides to church in a horse and buggy and about waiting for the lamplighter to bring city streetlights to life.
Four of Weston's sons preceded her in death, including Myrle, who was killed on Okinawa during World War II.
Family research indicated she was the nation's oldest living Gold Star mother. For her sacrifice, she was honored on Memorial Day 2007 in Nisswa, Minn., by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, said her daughter.
Three of Weston's grandchildren also had died before she did. But she knew how to survive sorrow and tragedy, her daughter said.
"She had a very good attitude, a lot of humor and she was very witty," Carlson said. "She said one time: 'When the boys were little, I had to put two of the boys in one diaper to make ends meet.'"
"Even six months ago, she was sharp, and she still sang with the family," she said. "She said her faith in God and love of family kept her going."
After her husband's death in 1976, she lived in Royalton, Little Falls and Aitkin.
Weston cared for her son Kenneth, who had Down syndrome, into her early 90s. He died in 1995. Son Earle died in 2004, and son Charles in 2005.
In addition to her daughter Maxine, she is survived by daughters Violet Spolarich of Palisade and Marlene Weston of Grand Rapids, Minn.; sons Lawrence and Curtis, both of Palisade, Deane of Grand Rapids and Clifford of Magnolia, Ky.; 42 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Services have been held.