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YARMOUTH, Maine - A 101-year-old man who has spent the last half-century caring for New England's oldest and tallest American elm tree says he's made his peace with the tree's impending demise.

The 110-foot-tall tree is nicknamed Herbie. It has stood sentinel in Yarmouth, Maine, since before the American Revolution. It also has survived 14 bouts of Dutch elm disease - but the latest round has proven fatal.

Former town tree warden Frank Knight calls Herbie an "old friend." He says the tree was so big and beautiful he couldn't bear to chop it down in the 1950s. Over the years, he nursed Herbie with insecticides and fungicide injections to battle the dreaded disease. But Knight says nothing is forever.

The tree is estimated to be 240 years old. Its exact age will be known once it's cut down Jan. 18.