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Obama saddened about Ohio woman who died hours after meeting him

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The elderly owner of an Ohio restaurant where President Obama ate breakfast Friday morning died of an apparent heart attack just hours after meeting him.

Josephine “Ann” Harris, 70, the owner of Ann’s Place where the president was served eggs, bacon, toast and grits, died at a hospital in Akron, Ohio, five hours after meeting Mr. Obama.

The president called her daughter, Wilma Parsons, from Air Force One Friday afternoon to express his condolences, according to a pool report.

Mrs. Harris was not inside the restaurant when reporters were there, but White House spokesman Jay Carney said she met with Mr. Obama afterward.

“The president expressed his sorrow and his condolences,” Mr. Carney said. “[It’s a] Very sad event. He was honored to meet her this morning and passed on his feelings that the whole family is in his thoughts and prayers today.”

According to a report in Reuters, Mrs. Harris went to the hospital complaining of fatigue and a tingling feeling and is believed to have suffered a heart attack just five hours after meeting the president.

Harris, a great grandmother, hugged Mr. Obama and posed with him for photographs, according to local media reports and Reuters.

“I’m sure this was her highlight,” Mrs. Harris’ sister, Frankie Adkins, of Tulsa, Okla., told the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper.

Mr. Obama was winding up a two-day bus tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania Friday.

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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