Heaviest Woman in New England
Lena (Bennett) Richards, born in Wakefield, died on September 22, 1911 from a disease which increased her weight to 500 pounds in only three years. She was reputed at the time to be the heaviest woman in New England.
A funeral service was held in the home of Albian Richards on Vernon Street, and according to the Wakefield Daily Item, the door had to be cut to allow the oversized casket to pass through. The newspaper reported that there were a large number of family and friends in attendance, as well as "a large crowd attracted largely by morbid curiosity."
Mrs. Richards' death record in the 1911 Town Report lists her parents as Samuel and Jane. She died at the age of 33 years, 6 months, and 12 days. The official cause of death was "obesity."
- Obituary in the New York Times, September 25, 1911.
- "Cut door to admit casket," Wakefield Daily Item', Monday, September 25, 1911, p.4, col.1.