VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — George Ives
Last Boer War veteran
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The last survivor of the Boer War, who was believed to be Canada's oldest man, has died in British Columbia at the age of 111, his daughter said Wednesday.
George Ives was lucid right up until Monday morning, when he succumbed to a flu virus, daughter Audrey Davidson said.
"He just turned and gave up. He just didn't have the strength to fight the virus," Ms. Davidson said in an interview from the Vancouver suburb of Aldergrove.
Mr. Ives, who had 12 great-great-grandchildren, became an international celebrity last fall after being invited to a veterans' remembrance festival at Royal Albert Hall in London, the daughter said.
Acknowledged to be the last living soldier of the Boer War (1899-1902), he was the last person legally allowed to wear the Queen Victoria Medal, and laid a wreath at the memorial in Whitehall.
During his weeklong stay in London, he had tea with the Queen Mother and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and had coffee with Diana, the Princess of Wales, and with the wife of Prime Minister John Major.
"His heart was good and it just kept beating. He used to have a drink of brandy every night right up until the last few days," Ms. Davidson said.
Mr. Ives was born in Brighton, England, on Nov. 17, 1881, and came to the Canadian Prairies in 1903. He farmed for most of his life in Alberta, but moved to Vancouver when he was 64 and worked in a boat-building yard.
His wife Kitty died in 1987 when she was 98, and Mr. Ives moved into a retirement home. "He was unhappy after Mom died. They'd been married for 76 1/2 years," Ms. Davidson said.
In a 1990 interview, Mr. Ives credited his longevity to having a good wife, good genes and good work habits. His father lived to 99, his mother to 98.
Mr. Ives is survived by son Jack, 76, daughters Audrey, 74, and Vicki Conn, 72; 15 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
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