February 1, 2011

USA: World's oldest woman dies at 115 in Texas

JACKSONVILLE / Inquirer.net / Agence France Presse / February 1, 2011

The world's oldest woman died Monday in her Texas home at the age of 115, her caretaker told AFP.

Eunice Sanborn  (July 20, 1896 – January 31, 2011) held the title of world's oldest person for less than three months after the death of Eugenie Blanchard, a nun from the French West Indies on November 4, 2010.

While an organization which tracks and verifies supercentenarians listed Sanborn's age as 114, her family claims the US Census Bureau erroneously recorded her birth year as 1896 rather than 1895.

Sanborn celebrated her 115th birthday on July 20.

Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, she moved to Texas after her first husband, Joseph Orchin, died.

Although she never worked outside the home, Sanborn stayed busy with community activities her entire life. She was an active member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and sang in the choir there for many years.

Sanborn has credited her long life and good health to her belief in Jesus Christ and her salvation.

Her "adopted" son David French – a longtime friend of Sanborn who first met her when he was five years old – and his wife Rena provided 24-hour care for Sanborn so that she could remain in her home.

Rena French said Sanborn died at 6 a.m.

Besse Cooper of the US state of Georgia – born August 26, 1896 – is now the world's oldest woman, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Cooper was born Besse Brown in Sullivan County, Tennessee, the third of eight children. She graduated from East Tennessee Normal School and was a teacher in her native Tennessee before moving to Georgia.

She married Luther Cooper in 1924, and was widowed in 1963.

She has credited her longevity to minding her own business and not eating junk food. She lives in the Walton Regional Medical Center Nursing Home in Monroe, Georgia.

As of her 114th birthday, Cooper has 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.

Source: Inquirer.net, Makati City, Philippines