1897 - October 23, 2003: Age 106
She was born in Shanghai in Imperial China, one of six children in the family of a Chinese Methodist minister and Bible salesman. She was educated in America, a young Chinese woman graduating with honours during the First World War. Through her husband she ruled China, then Taiwan, before retiring at his death. Her experience spanned three centuries and two millenia.
Soong May-Ling was the wife, muse, advisor, goad, and best friend of Chiang Kai-Shek, the man who ruled China until his defeat at the hands of Mao Tse-Tung in 1949. Soong and Chiang went to Taiwan, where he became President. Between then and 1975, when Chiang died, Soong gained more and more influence both in Taiwan and internationally.
When Chiang died, he was succeeded by his eldest son by a previous marriage, who was not friendly to Soong. She moved to Long Island, where her family had an estate, and then in 2000 to an apartment in Manhattan, where black-suited bodyguards cleared the lobby every time she went through. She was popularly known as "The Dragon Lady". She died peacefully in her apartment on October 23, 2003, at age 106.