Newfoundland-born man who was world's oldest male has died

Published on July 8, 2013
James McCoubrey in August 2012. — Submitted photo

James McCoubrey, the St. John’s-born man who was the oldest man in the world, has died.

A family member confirmed McCoubrey, who lived in the San Francisco Bay area of California, died July 5.

James Foster McCoubrey had lived in the San Fransisco Bay area of California, but was born in St. John's.

McCoubrey was to have turned 112 on Sept. 13.

When Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, 116, died in June, McCoubrey became the oldest documented living man in the world.

At the time McCoubrey was in a rehabilitation facility after a bout of pneumonia.

McCoubrey lived through two world wars, the Great Depression, the shift from horse and buggy to cars, all the missions to space and the technological revolution.

He left the province as a toddler, more than a century ago, when his family moved to Halifax. His father, a sea captain, died in his early 30s of tuberculosis. His mother remarried and settled on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and was once a house mother at Harvard University. McCoubrey was about eight when he moved to Cambridge, Mass.

His daughter Pat Salveson told The Telegram in 2012 that while her father revisited Halifax, he never made it back to Newfoundland.

Salveson said McCoubrey had talked about returning to Newfoundland for a visit for years, but after his wife got sick, the trip failed to materialize. He often talked about the clean air and scenery of Newfoundland, but also mentioned hard times, Salveson said.

McCoubrey met his wife, Rose, at a canoe club on the Charles River in Boston. The McCoubreys raised Pat, their only child, in the Boston area, where McCoubrey ran an oil delivery and oil burner business and retired at age 62 half a century ago.

The McCoubreys were married for 69 years when Rose died at age 90.