Lucy Coffey, nation's oldest female military veteran, dies at 108

Vice President Joe Biden greets Lucy Coffey, 108, the oldest living female veteran, in his West Wing Office, July 25, 2014.


(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson/KENS

SAN ANTONIO -- The nation's oldest female military veteran is dead. She was 108.

Lucy Coffey was found dead in her bed in San Antonio Thursday morning. Friend Queta Marquez, Bexar (BEAR) County veterans' service officer, said Coffey had been sick for about a week and had a chronic cough.

"I am so honored to have met this incredible lady," Marquez said, according to CBS affiliate KENS. "She was truly a pioneer, and full of life and spunk."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Indiana-born farm girl was working at a Dallas grocery store the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The San Antonio Express-News reports that she quit the store in 1943 to join the new Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, which stationed her around the Pacific. She spent a decade in Japan before she moved to San Antonio.

She visited Washington last summer on an Honor Flight. She met President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who spent 30 minutes with her.

"We spent some time together and, you know, I know she doesn't speak, but she spoke to me," Biden said, according to KENS.