Uncle Paul called last night to let me know that Grandma had died a little after 6 p.m., Washington time.
As Paul noted, she was eight days short of 99 and a half years old.
The year she was born, 1908, was the year the first Model T Ford was produced. The forerunner to the FBI was founded. That was the year of the first ball drop in Times Square for New Year's, and the year that the Grand Canyon was named a National Monument (later it became a National Park). The Wright Brothers' first test flights had been only four years earlier. The first American radio broadcasts were right around that time.
So Grandma lived through a lot of big changes. (Social as well as technological, of course.) And adapted to them; one of my favorite recent photos of her is this one of her talking on a cell phone for the first time, a few days before her 97th birthday.
I'm normally a "rage, rage, against the dying of the light" kind of guy. But in this case, it comforts me to know that Grandma died peacefully, when she was ready, surrounded by loving family and friends.
Here's another photo of her, taken by my Uncle David in 2003. (Note to LJ users: as usual, the photos in this entry look better in my journal page than in the LJ feed.)
Paul told me last night that Grandma's mother, known to the family as Grandma Hanson, the one who said "People are funnier than anybody," spent the last nine years of her life in a coma. I'm glad that Grandma Hartman didn't linger in the state she's been in these past few days.
But I'm nonetheless sad to see her go. I'll miss her.
I'd like to write a little more about her life, but the definitive reference work (a few chapters of autobiography/memoir that she wrote over the past few years) is at home, so I'll wait to say more 'til I get home.
There'll be a memorial or two sometime soon; not sure when. And as I noted the other day, the 100th-birthday party will still be happening, in late January. We can still celebrate her life even now that she's gone.