February 2, 2010

WORLD: Some of the oldest people in the world

. LOS ANGELES, California / Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group / February 2, 2010 Dr. L. Stephen Coles, Co-Founder of the GRG has sent this information from The Amazing about the world's oldest people. JEANNE CALMENT (February 21, 1875 – August 4, 1997) Jeanne Cament was born in Arles, France, to a well-to-do family, her close family members also unsurprisingly lived to an advanced age: her brother, François, lived to the grand old age of 97, her father, Nicolas, 93, and her mother, Marguerite, 86. In 1896, she decided to marry her second cousin (grandson of her great-uncle) Fernand Calment, a wealthy storeowner. His impressive wealth made it possible for Calment never to have to work: instead she led a very relaxed lifestyle, pursuing hobbies like tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano and opera. Her beloved husband died in 1942, after he unfortunately ate a dessert prepared with spoiled cherries Calment’s longevity strangely enough was not shared by her offspring. Her only daughter, Yvonne, died at age 36 in 1934 from pneumonia. As a result, the task of bringing up her grandson Frédéric fell on to her shoulders. He was trained as a doctor, but died in 1963 in a tragic motorcycle accident. In 1985, Calment finally moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110. Nevertheless, she did not actually gain international fame until 1988, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh’s visit to Arles provided an occasion to meet reporters. She said that when she was 14, she met van Gogh in her father’s shop, later describing him as “dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable.” She also later reported attending the 1885 funeral of Victor Hugo. After her 1988 interview, at age 113, Calment was given the Guinness book of Records’ “world’s oldest person” title. She was first mentioned in the Guinness Records publication of 1989, in new claims at the end. However, in 1989 the title was withdrawn and given to Carrie C. White of Florida, who was claimed to have been born in 1874, although this has since been disputed by subsequent census research. On the death of Carrie White on February 14, 1991, Calment, then only a week shy of 116, became the oldest recognized living person. On October 17, 1995 Calment reached 120 years and 238 days to become the Guinness “oldest person ever”, surpassing Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan, whose own claim has since also been subject to some considerable doubt. Coincidentally, Izumi died on Calment’s 111th birthday. If the questionable cases of Shigechiyo Izumi and Carrie White are to be discounted, Calment is the first person documented to reach 115, 116, 117, 118, and 119 years old. She is also the only person to have undisputedly lived at least 120 years. Following Calment’s death on August 4, 1997, then almost 117-year-old Marie-Louise Meilleur of Canada became the oldest recognized person in the world. (wiki) (Photo: GRG) SHIGECHIYO IZUMI (June 29, 1865? – February 21, 1986) of Tokunoshima, Amami Islands, Japan was, according to Guinness Book of World Records, the person with the greatest authenticated age in the whole world after the eventual death of Niwa Kawamoto, also from Japan. Assuming his proclaimed birthdate is accuarate, he would have attained an age of 120 years, older than any other recognized male, and the second-longest lived human ever, second only to Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment. He also holds the record for the longest working career for a person, which spanned 98 years. He was recorded as a six-year-old in Japan’s first census of 1871. His wife died at the age of 90. He drank shochu (a Japanese alcoholic beverage distilled from barley), and began up smoking at age 70. His long career began in 1872 goading draft animals at a sugar mill, and he finally retired as a sugarcane farmer in 1970 at the age of 105. He attributed his long life to “God, Buddha and the Sun.” He was not a tall man as he stood at 1.42 meters (four feet, eight inches) tall and weighed 42.6 kilograms (94 pounds), and an interesting stat is that he lived through 71 Japanese Prime Ministers! Eventually he died of pneumonia after a brief hospitalization at 12:15 GMT, coincidentally the same day as Jeanne Calment’s 111th birthday. He was 120 years and 237 days old (if the 1865 birth year is correct), the last recognized surviving person of the 1860s, the one and only male to live at least 116 years and the longest holder of the revered “oldest living person” title. Following his death, Mamie Eva Keith took over the title and became the world’s oldest person. Also, for more than 20 years after his death every person with the title of the world’s oldest living person had been female until Emiliano Mercado del Toro became the world’s “oldest living person” on December 11, 2006. His age has been a matter of some dispute and some historians suggest that he was actually born several years later and named after his older sibling (a brother), who perhaps died young. (wiki) SARAH DeREMER CLARK KNAUSS (September 24, 1880 – December 30, 1999) was considered the “world’s oldest person” by Guinness Book of World Records from April 16, 1998 until her eventual death at age 119. Aged 117, Sarah set the record for the oldest “new” titleholder (which corresponds to the highest “valley” on a graph of the oldest living persons over time). She died a mere 33 hours before the year 2000, bringing to an end the last verified living person born before 1885. Sarah DeRemer Clark was born in a small United States coal mining town, Hollywood, Pennsylvania (which no longer exists), and eventually she died in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Back in 1901 she married Abraham Lincoln Knauss (December 19, 1878 - March 1, 1965). Abraham became a well-known Republican leader in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Upon the 1998 death of Marie-Louise Meilleur, she was for a while the oldest recognized person in the world. Knauss was a homemaker and had an earlier career as an insurance office manager. Her daughter, Kathryn Sullivan (1903-2005), who was 96 at the time of Sarah’s death, once explained Knauss’ three-digit age by saying: “She’s a very tranquil person and nothing fazes her. That’s why she’s living this long.” In 1995, when Sarah was asked if she enjoyed her long life, Knauss said matter-of-factly: “I enjoy it because I have my health and I can do things.” Her passions included watching golf on television, doing needlepoint, and nibbling on milk chocolate turtles, cashews, and potato chips. “Sarah was an elegant lady and worthy of all the honor and adulation she had received,” said Joseph Hess, an Administrator of the Phoebe-Devitt Homes Foundation facility where Knauss died quietly in her room. Officials said that, to their knowledge, she had not been ill so must have just died of old age. Knauss lived through seven U.S. wars, twenty three U.S. Presidents, the sinking of the RMS Titanic and Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic. She was older than the Brooklyn Bridge and even the Statue of Liberty, and was already 88 when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in July of 1969! Apart from her daughter, Knauss was also survived by a grandson, three great-granddaughters, and five great-great grandchildren. When she was 116 she was recognized as the United States national longevity recordholder, then thought to be held by the meanwhile disputed Carrie White (1874?-1991). It is now believed that the record should have been held by Lucy Hannah (117 years and 248 days), who died in 1993. In any case, Sarah extended the U.S. record to age 119. She lived to see her daughter turn 96, and passed away 33 hours before the year 2000. Some scientific circles consider her to be the second-oldest person ever, though Guinness and this site recognize her as third, after Jeanne Calment (1875-1997) and the also in the meantime disputed Shigechiyo Izumi (1865?-1986) respectively. She is considered to have been the last remaining living member of the Missionary Generation. (wiki) MARIE-LOUISE FEBRONIE CHASSE MEILLEUR: Marie-Louise Fébronie Chassé Meilleur (August 29, 1880 – April 16, 1998) was a French Canadian who, after the death of Jeanne Calment, became the oldest recognized person in the world. Meilleur still is the oldest validated Canadian ever and comes in at number 5 on our all time list. Age : 117 Born: 1880 Country: Canada Status: Widowed She was born in Kamouraska, Quebec and married her first husband, Etienne Leclerc, there in 1900. After he and both her parents died in 1911-1912, Meilleur left two of her four children behind in 1913 and moved to the Ontario border. Only once, back in 1939, did she return to the Kamouraska area. The supercentenarian had amazingly enough six further children by her second husband, Hector Meilleur, whom she married in 1915. After his death in 1972, she lived first with a daughter and then in a nursing home in Corbeil, Ontario. By the time Meilleur died of a blood clot in April 1998, one of her sons was also living in the same nursing home, and her oldest living daughter, Gabrielle Vaughan, was 90 years old! She was said to be a vegetarian, while Sarah Knauss, her successor as world’s oldest recognized, had a weakness for junk food… Some nine years after her death, amazingly Meilleur still remains one of five oldest verified persons ever recorded. (wiki) MARIA CAPOLILLA (September 14, 1889 – August 27, 2006) of Guayaquil, Ecuador, was at the time of her death at age 116 years and 347 days, recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person. She was the last remaining documented person born in the 1880s. María Ester Heredia Lecaro in Guayaquil, María was the daughter of a colonel, and lived a life among the upper-class elite, attending social functions and art classes. For the health concious amoungst you it is interesting to note that she never smoked or drank hard liquor. In 1917, she married a military officer, Antonio Capovilla, who died in 1949. Antonio, an ethnic Italian, was born in Pola, Austria-Hungary (now Pula, Croatia) in 1864. He moved to Chile in 1894 and then to Ecuador in 1910. After his first wife died, he married María. They had five children, three of whom were still actually living at her passing: Hilda (81), Irma (80) and son Anibal (78). She also had eleven grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. At age 100 (which is certainly a good stretch by anyones standards), María nearly died and was given last rites, but had been free of health problems since then. As recently as December 2005 Maria was said to be in good health and able to watch TV, read the papers and walk without the aid of a stick (though she was helped by an aide). However, she was unable physically to leave her home in the past two years, which she shared with her eldest surviving daughter, Hilda, and her son-in-law. In a media interview, María stated her dislike of the fact that women nowadays are permitted to court men, rather than the reverse from back in her time. By March 2006, María’s health had declined considerably, and she was no longer unfortunately able to read the newspaper. She had also nearly stopped talking altogether and could no longer walk except when helped by two persons. Still, María was able to sit erect in her chair and fan herself, and had been doing ‘fine’ until she succumbed to a bad bout of pneumonia in the last week of August in 2006.(wiki) ELIZABETH "LIZZIE" JONES BOLDEN (August 15, 1890 - December 11, 2006) was African American. When she passed away at age 116 years and 118 days, Lizzie was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person. She was the last remaining documented person born in 1890 to pass away. Lizzie born in 1890 in Somerville, Tennessee, was the daughter of freed slaves. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Jones married Lewis Bolden circa 1908, and their first child, a boy, Ezell, was born on September 21, 1909. She had seven children in total, two of which were still alive as of her death in 2006: Queen Esther Rhodes, 89, and Mamie Brittmon, 86. At the time of her 116th birthday in August 2006, Lizzie had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 2nd-great-grandchildren, 220 3rd-great grandchildren and 75 4th-great grandchildren. Durning her final years Lizzie resided in a Memphis, Tennessee nursing home. She was described by her family as unable to communicate, and requested that media attention (such as interviews and visits) be limited. During her reign as world’s oldest person titleholder, Bolden was rarely seen in public as she kept to herself. Lizzie was photographed for two different books in early 2005, and was also featured in Jet magazine in May 2005 and the Memphis Commercial Appeal in June 2005. For the first time in over a year new photographs were released. Her family said that she was looking forward to her big day. Elizabeth Bolden was verified in April 2005 as being the oldest documented resident of the United States since the death of Emma Verona Johnston the previous December. She displaced Bettie Wilson, who had previously been the oldest known American. Lizzie Bolden regained the oldest living person title following the August 27, 2006 death of María Capovilla . This was officially confirmed on September 17, 2006 by Guinness World Records. She had previously held the title from the August 30, 2005 death of Hendrikje van Andel. However, on December 9, 2005, María Capovilla was announced as authenticated older. Bolden became only the second person to hold the title for two terms, the first one being worldrecord holder Jeanne Calment. In July 2006, Bolden entered the list of the all time top ten oldest verified people. At the time of her death she was the 8th oldest person ever documented. In the 1900 U.S. Census, she is recorded as being nine years old and born in August 1890, and in the 1910 U.S. Census she is recorded as 19 years old, already married with a child. With the destruction of the Fayette County, Tennessee records in a 1925 fire, the family had guessed that she was born in 1891, but investigation proved she was a year older. When Elizabeth Bolden died, the Los Angeles based Gerontology Research Group and Guinness World Records named the successor of the title of the world’s oldest living person as Emiliano Mercado del Toro of Puerto Rico. (wiki) KAMATO HONGO Japanese: Hongo Kamato (September 16, 1887 - October 31, 2003) was the world’s oldest recognized living person from March 2002 until her death. She resided in Kagoshima, on Japan’s most southerly major island Kyushu. Unfortunally she celebrated 116th birthday the month before she died from pneumonia. Kamato Hongo was born on the small island of Tokunoshima, home of Shigechiyo Izumi. Kamato Hongo later moved to Kagoshima on Kyushu, which she lived with her daughter. The apparent oldest person in Japan after the death of Denzo Ishisaki in 1999, she attained a measure of celebrity and was the focus of some merchandise (washcloths, keyrings, phone cards, etc.) sold highlighting her longevity. She also appeared on Japanese television many times as the worlds oldest living person. Kyushu has been the home of other supercentenarians, including recent world’s-oldest-man Yukichi Chuganji, who died one month before her. Aged 116 years and 45 days at her death, Kamato Hongo was the last remaining documented person born before 1889. In January 2007, another Kyushu islander, Yone Minagawa, attained theworld’s oldest person title, and Kyushu resident Tomoji Tanabe took the men’s title, once again making Kyushu the ‘island of longevity.’ (wiki) [rc]