Avice Nelson Clarke, age 111, of Placerville died from pneumonia on Jan. 17 at the Gold Country Retirement Center. Prior to death, she was the second oldest person in California.
Born in Nelson, Lancashire, England, on May 17, 1900, she was educated to grade 6 and then went to work in the cotton mills at age 12. As a child she lived through WW I and German zeppelins flying overhead and dropping bombs. The family’s beloved dray horse, Daisy, was later conscripted for war duty. In 1920 her family moved from England to Gilroy, Calif., where they worked in the local cannery. It was at the cannery that Avice met and later married George Edison Ramos in 1920. They were married for 28 years and divorced in 1948. He died in 1970. After the divorce Avice reverted to her maiden name.
During WW II Avice worked at the Oakland Naval Supply Depot as an expediter. After the war she went back to England and worked in the same mill she had when she was 12. Later she returned to California. Being of British birth, every year she would receive a birthday card from the queen. She was a member of the Bay District Lancashire Society, which was a social club for those hailing from Lancashire and was an avid knitter and gardener.
Avice was studied, along with other centenarians, by different universities and research institutions because of her longevity. She came from a family of long living relatives. One of her siblings lived to age 99, another to 89, and her mother to almost 102. She witnessed the transition from the horse and buggy era to automobiles, lived through two world wars, wept at the sinking of the Titanic, saw royalty in England and multiple presidents in the United States come and go, witnessed the coming of the space and computer age, and lived through other memorable events of the last century.
She leaves behind one living son, Norman Ramos, 89, who lives in Camino. Another son, George Ramos Jr., died in 1924 of diphtheria. She also leaves behind three grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
She will be buried at St. Andrew’s Church in Gargrave, North Yorkshire, England, where other members of her family are buried.