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Fred Hale Sr., world's oldest man; at 113

DEWITT, N.Y. -- Fred Hale Sr., a Maine native recognized as the world's oldest man, died Friday. He was 113 years old.

Mr. Hale died in his sleep at The Nottingham in Syracuse while trying to recover from a bout of pneumonia, said his grandson, Fred Hale III. He was 12 days shy of his 114th birthday.

Born Dec. 1, 1890, Mr. Hale last month watched his lifelong favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

Mr. Hale retired in 1957 as a railroad postal worker and beekeeper, his grandson said. He enjoyed gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, and making homemade applesauce.

''He had a routine and he rarely broke it because anyone else was around," his grandson told The Post-Standard of Syracuse. ''He didn't need a lot to be happy."

At age 95, Mr. Hale flew to Japan to visit a grandson who was in the Navy. During his return trip, he stopped in Hawaii and gave boogie-boarding a try.

At 103, Mr. Hale was still living on his own and shoveling the snow off his rooftop.

He was born in New Sharon, Maine, when there were only 43 stars on the American flag. He married Flora Mooers in 1910.

Mr. Hale lived in Maine until he was 109, when he moved to the Syracuse area to be near his son, Fred Jr., now 82.

On March 5, the Guinness World Records acknowledged him as the oldest living man when Joan Riudavets Moll of Spain passed away at age 114.

Mr. Hale was also a Guinness record-holder for the oldest driver. At age 108, he still found slow drivers annoying, Fred Hale III said.

Mr. Hale outlived his wife, who died in 1979, and three of his five children. He had nine grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Mr. Hale credited his longevity to bee pollen and honey that he ate each day, along with the occasional nip of whiskey in the morning.

The world's oldest living man is now Hermann Dornemann, of Germany, age 111. There are 26 living women older than him, according to Gerontology Research Group.

A funeral for Mr. Hale will be held Tuesday at Hobbs Funeral Home in South Portland. He'll be buried in Farmington, Maine.

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