111-year-old New Jerseyan dies

September 16, 2008 9:53:44 AM PDT
Walter Seward - one of the oldest people in New Jersey, and the world - has died at age 111, according to his alma mater Rutgers University. Seward, of West Orange, died Sunday at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Rutgers said. He was only a month shy of his 112 birthday.

He was among "supercentenarians" documented by the California-based Gerontology Research Group. He was among nearly 80 living "supercentenarians" documented by the group.

Seward grew up in Toledo, Ohio, graduated from Rutgers in 1917 and Harvard Law School in 1924. He was married at 61, had the first of his children at 63 and was still practicing law part-time when he was 100.

Relatives told local newspapers that he didn't smoke or drink alcohol, and also exercised. But he had a big weakness: strawberry ice cream.

"His diet was largely a matter of fat, salt, sugar, chocolate, ice cream and vegetables and carbohydrates cooked until they lost all resistance," Seward's son Jonathan Seward told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Tuesday newspapers.

Seward was a fixture at Rutgers annual reunions going back to 1919. He could recall wearing a black beanie with a green button top as a freshman - and having to attend daily mandatory chapel services.

Seward's wife died in 2000. He's survived by a son, daughter and two grandsons.

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