The country’s oldest woman veteran has died at home in Texas at the age of 108.
Lucy Coffey, an Indiana native who served throughout the Pacific, was found dead in her bed Thursday morning after being ill for about a week and suffering a chronic cough, Quita Marquez, a friend and Bexar County, Texas, veterans service officer, told ABC News.
The Bexar County Veterans Service Office announced Coffey’s death on Thursday.
“She was an incredible lady who will be missed dearly,” the organization said in a statement. “Her contributions to our country and community will not be forgotten.”
“She was truly a pioneer, and full of life and spunk,” Marquez told the San Antonio Express-News.
Coffey visited the White House last year, meeting President Obama and Vice President Biden.
Coffey was one of 400,000 American women who served during World War II, according to the White House. She was 37 and working at a Dallas grocery store when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and quit to enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. She rose to the rank of sergeant, earning two bronze stars during her service and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon during the Battle of Luzon.
After her discharge in 1945, Coffey continued to work as an Army civilian in Okinawa, Japan, for 13 years, before returning to Texas. She worked in the procurement office at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio until her retirement in 1971.
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