Oldest Living American, Elsie Thompson, Dies At 113: Jeralean Talley Takes Title Of Oldest Living American; How Old Is She?
Elsie Thompson was the oldest living American when she passed away last month at 113 years old. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Thompson, who was born just before the turn of the 19th-century, was only a few weeks shy of her 114 birthday when she died in her condominium in Clearwater, Florida, on March 21.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, Thompson was just one of a handful of supercentenarians -- people who live past 110 -- and one of only 12 people left on earth who were born before 1900. She was the fourth oldest person in the world at the time of her death. The Daily Mail reports she had congestive heart failure.
Like Us on Facebook
Thompson became the oldest person in the U.S. after the death in January of 114-year-old Mamie Rearden of South Carolina, Reuters reports. Thompson is superseded by Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Michigan, who was just 48 days younger than Thompson at the time of Thompson's death.
Thompson was born on April 5, 1899, the same year as Ernest Hemingway, Al Capone and Alfred Hitchcock (Hemingway died in 1961, Capone in 1947 and Hitchcock in 1980). The world population in 1899 was about 1.7 billion - roughly one-fourth of what it is today. Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were not even U.S. states. Puerto Rico had just become a U.S. territory. It would be nine years before Ford rolled out its Model T; 12 years before the Titanic would sink.
Thompson grew up in Pittsburgh and was married at the age of 21 to Ron Thompson, who served in both world wars and then as a Pennsylvania politician for 22 years. The couple retired to Clearwater where Thompson's husband passed away in 1986.
"Thompson was a stylish dresser who practiced her ballroom dancing until shortly before she died. She sang and played the piano," according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Live Science reports that a major factor in a person's longevity is personality and attitude. Studies show that Father Time rewards those who are more optimistic, outgoing and have a large social network.
Other studies show that genes and diet play a significant role in how long a person lives.
The oldest known living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, is a 115-year-old Japanese man named Jiroemon Kimura. Of the ten oldest people in the world, only one, Jiroemon Kimura, is male. Five of the ten oldest living people are in the U.S. The title of oldest living person was once held by a woman in the U.S. Gertrude Baines, who lived in Los Angeles, died in September of 2009 at 115 years of age.
Read more from iScience Times:
© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.