BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ernest Charles Pusey, one of the nation's longest-living World War I veterans, died about a week after he was honored with a medal for his service, family members said. He was 111.
Mr. Pusey's death Sunday left fewer than 25 US veterans of World War I out of nearly 5 million who served, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"I was deeply saddened to learn that Mr. Pusey had passed away. It was my privilege to meet with him," Governor Jeb Bush said in a news release. "We should not forget him, and other veterans, who sacrificed so much for this country."
The governor had presented Mr. Pusey with a World War I Victory Medal on Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day. Mr. Pusey didn't recall receiving a medal after the war, and nobody could find any evidence that he had.
During the ceremony at Mr. Pusey's trailer, the veteran talked to Bush about his time on the USS Wyoming during the war, and "stopping at different cities out there."
A black-and-white photo of the battleship hung on the wall of his home near a framed letter of congratulations from President Bush, and the president's brother added the glass-encased medal to a table near Mr. Pusey's recliner.
Mr. Pusey was born in 1895 in Washington. He joined the Navy in 1917 and spent much of the war patrolling the sea lanes around the British Isles.
He worked for General Motors in Flint, Mich., before moving to Florida in 1960. In later years he tried living in a nursing home but preferred living in his trailer with the help of a caretaker. He loved fishing and going out for a scallop dinner on Sundays, his family said.
Mr. Pusey's longevity was a marvel to many.
"I don't know if he had a secret," grandson Craig Pusey said. "If he did, he never told anyone."
Mr. Pusey leaves four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.