Ohio Restaurateur Dies Hours After Obama Visit

POTUS makes condolence call after death of Ann's Place proprietress
Wikimedia/Marc Nozell

A surprise visit from the president of the United States is a feather in the cap of any restaurateur, so Josephine "Ann" Harris had a great morning Friday, even though it was unfortunately her last, as the 70-year-old proprietress of Ann's Place in Akron, Ohio, died of a heart attack just a few hours after President Barack Obama visited her place for breakfast.

The Huffington Post reports that Obama was in the area for a campaign swing through Ohio and Pennsylvania, and dropped by Ann's Place after staying the night in Akron. He spoke with Harris, shared a hug, and took pictures in front of the restaurant with Harris and her family. Harris' sister, Frankie Adkins, said Harris was a big Obama fan.

"I’m sure this was her highlight," Frankie Adkins said. "She loved Obama."

Shortly after the president left, Harris complained of fatigue and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead of a heart attack. MSNBC reports that a hospital spokesperson said she died about five hours after meeting the president.

Aboard Air Force One, President Obama heard the news and called Harris' daughter, Wilma Parsons, to express his condolences.

"The president expressed his sorrow and his condolences at the very sad event," said White House press secretary Jay Carney, according to UPI. "He was honored to meet her this morning and passed on his feelings that the whole family is in his thoughts and prayers today."

DCist reports that President Obama ate with three employees from a local Goodyear tire plant. The presidential breakfast comprised two eggs over medium, bacon, wheat toast, and a side of grits.