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Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Everyone wants to grow old, but nobody wants to be old. Yet (unfortunately) there is no escape, if at least you do not die early from a disease or accident. Sooner or later you will grow old. There are, of course, some advantages, such as 65+ discounts on everything and anything, and the possibility to retire (although the latter is a matter that is postponed longer and longer). Still, nobody ultimately wants to be old, when the point comes to a halt. After all, old people are often weaker, more immobile, and well ... everything starts to crack and squeak.

Yet the saying 'creaking cars are the longest' is not total nonsense. Some people are indeed very old, while they have all kinds of ailments in the past. Other people seem to be in tip-top condition until they reach the age of 80 and then shift from one day to the next. It is (sometimes) totally unpredictable who gets older, and who will die young. We simply can not know in advance. What we can know is who has become very old in the past. This list looks exactly like that, the oldest people ever in the world. Of course, we can only look back far in history, but we assume that there were few 100-year-old people during and before the Middle Ages. Becoming old, that is really a fashion of the last centuries (or even decades).

Moreover, we obviously do not know for sure that people who live on the ground or who have not lived in our registers do not live in secret, and who have secretly become older than the people on this list. Such a thing is of course possible, but very unlikely. All advanced cultures today register all births and deaths, and in the more primitive cultures that would not write such a thing, it is very rare that someone gets older than 60, let alone over 100!

10.  Misao Okawa, who knows how old she will be !?

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

We start with the 'youngest' of the elderly and immediately with the only lady on this list who is still alive. This means that Madame Misao could well rise in this list. After all, all others have already died, so their age is fixed. But Misao is still alive, and can therefore even get older than the current number one on the list. 

Misao was born in Japan on March 5, 1898. She is the second-oldest Japanese lady ever. Japan turns out to be a healthy country, that may be clear! Misao had three children, two of whom are still alive, and over 90 years of age. She has four grandchildren and six small grandchildren. Her husband was less fortunate, he died in 1931. Misao may live in a nursing home, she is still in a reasonably healthy condition, and was very satisfied when the Guinness World Records gave her a certificate as the oldest living woman in the world.

Party!? If this list is read in time, it may not be too late, tomorrow Misao will be 116! Read more...

9.  Jiroemon Kimura, 116 years and 54 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

A compatriot of Misao and also the only man in this top ten, Jiroemon Kimura was born in Kamiukawa, a small fish community. He was born on the 19th of March, but an incorrect registration has long claimed that he was born on April 19th. One month earlier or later, the year was at least 1897, and with that he is the oldest Japanese man ever, the oldest man in the world, and also the first man who was older than 116 years!

Jiroemon was the third child in a family of six, and his parents were farmers. He was not a fool, because at the age of 14 he completed school as the second of his class and he got his first official job at 17 years old. No slow starter, so!

He also worked in Korea for a while, but when he returned to Japan, he married Yae Kimura, his neighbor, and since that family had a lack of male heirs, Jiroemon adopted their name, instead of his own original name ( Kinjiro Miyake).

Jiroemon is probably one of the few people on earth who lived longer after the day of his retirement, as before. At age 65, like many people that time, he retired in 1962. He had then at least 45 years of service at the post, but not enough of work, because he started again as a farmer. He continued to do this until he was 90 years old!

By the way, Jiroemon was not a stranger in the family. Four of his brothers and sisters were older than 90, and his youngest brother even became 100. But none became as old as Jiroemon himself! Even his wife, Yae died in 1978, at a fairly normal age of 74 years. Nonetheless, she managed to raise seven children for Jiroemon, and five of the seven survived their father (that is, they were still alive when their father died). Of the 14 grandchildren, 13 are still alive. In addition, he had 25 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.

Ook Jiroemon kreeg van Guiness World Records een certificaat voor oudste levende man op aarde. En wat was volgens Jiroemon de sleutel tot een lang en gelukkig leven? Helaas, slecht nieuws voor Bourgondiers, Jiroemon gelooft namelijk dat het voornamelijk lag aan kleine porties voedsel.

8.  Besse Cooper, 116 en 100 dagen

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

Previously we saw that the birth date of Jiroemon was initially registered a month late. What does a month say, you would think. Well, two months you can guarantee a place on this list, according to the example of Besse Cooper, who was less than 50 days older of Jiroemon.

Besse Cooper was an American lady born in Tennessee on August 26, 1896. Her birth name was Besse Berry Brown, and she was the third of eight children of Richard Brown and Angeline Berry. As a child she would have been a real book devil, and in later life she became a devoted teacher. Between the first and second world war, Besse taught the younger generation.

Besse married quite late, only in 1924 at the age of 28, with one Luther Cooper. They had four children and all of them are still alive, with the exception of Luther himself, who died in 1963. However, Besse did not move his dying, instead she continued to maintain their farm until 2001, when she eventually moved to a nursing home at the age of 105. Unfortunately, in 2012, on December 4, she died of respiratory problems.

Next to a number 8 on this list, Besse is also the oldest resident in Georgia ever. She was the second-oldest resident of Tennessee, except for Elisabeth Bolden (more about her later!). According to Cooper, her eternal life was due to 'minding her own business' (interfering with her own business) and avoiding junk food.

7.  Elisabeth Bolden, 116 years and 118 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

We hadden het al even over Elisabeth hierboven. Met achttien dagen is Elisabeth dus net even iets ouder geworden dan Besse. Elisabeth werd echter een goede 6 jaar eerder geboren, op 15 augustus 1890. Vlak voor ze stierf was zij de laatste levende persoon ter wereld die in 1980 was geboren, en haar leeftijd was de zevende geregistreerde die de 116 behaalde.

Elisabeth Jones werd in 1890 geboren in Somerville, ook Tenessee. Blijkbaar is dat een gunstig stukje aarde, net als Japan, want ook de nummer acht op deze lijst kwam hier vandaan. “Lizzy” kwam uit een gezin van twee bevrijdde slaven. Ze huwde Louis Bolden in 1908, en een jaar later werd hun eerste zoon Ezell al geboren. Ze kregen in totaal drie zoons en vier dochters, en werkten op hun boerderij in de buurt van Memphis tot de jaren vijftig. Slechts twee dochters van de kinderen overleefden hun moeder, toentertijd 86 en 89 jaar in leeftijd. Maar geen zorgen, er waren genoeg klein en achter-klein kinderen. Toen ze stierf, had Elisabeth maarliefst 40 kleinkinderen, 75 achter-kleinkinderen, e150 achter-achter-kleinkinderen, 220 achter-achter-achterkleinkinderen en… jawel, 75 achter-achter-achter-achterkleinkindren. Ben je er nog?

When a reporter asked in 2003 how Lizzy thought it was possible that she had become so old, she only gave the answer "I do not know". However, Lizzy was by no means a shy little lamb with no opinion. When her daughters repeatedly tried to pull her blanket over her legs she would have burst out. "If you were not my daughter, I'd already put you over my knee and give you a rattle!". Unfortunately, her last years of life were less happy. Her family, who tried to keep the press away from her withdrawn lifestyle at any cost, were able to report that Mizie Lizzy could barely communicate with them. In addition, Elisabeth Bolden was known for her fear of the dark, sometimes even so bad that she could not sleep. As a 109-year-old, she was admitted to a nursing home and here she would die a few years later. She eventually died on December 11, 2006.

A remarkable similarity between Elisabeth and her uncommon American in this list Besse (number eight) is the following: Both were born in August, Besse 10 days later than Elisabeth, and both died in December, Besse 7 days earlier than Elisabeth. Yet there was a six-year difference between the two.

6.  Tane Ikai, 116 years and 175 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

The third person from Japan in this list is Tane Ikai. She is the oldest Japanese in this list, and was born on January 18, 1879. Besides the number 6 on this list, Tane is also the oldest Japanese ever and the oldest Asian ever.

People who know Japan may be able to do something with this; Tane was born and raised in Kansei, in the Aichu Prefecture, Nagoya. She, too, was the third child (this happened before in this list ...) and her parents were farmers. She married at the age of 20 three sons and a daughter and (this is remarkable in time) at the age of 38 she divorced herself from her husband, in 1917. She went to a nursing home at the age of 89, and Twenty years later she got a coincidence, at the age of 109. The rest of her life (another seven years, to be precise) she stayed in bed because of this coincidence. All her children had already died when it was finally her turn.

5.  Maria Capovilla, 116 years and 347 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

Maria Esther Heredia the Capovilla née Lecaro, that is her official name. She was born on February 14, 1889 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Not only is she the fourth-oldest lady in the world, she is the oldest person ever in South America and on the Southern planet half. If we call Ecuador a developing country, then Maria Capovilla is the oldest person in the world of a developing country.

Mary was the daughter of a Colonel, and grew up in the well-to-do society, she pointed out all the fancy social occasions and undertook art classes, as was customary for ladies of the time. Health freaks like this, Maria did not smoke and never drank strong liquor. She married in 1917 with a soldier, entirely according to the expectation of her father and her family. Her last name changed to Capovilla (her maiden name is Lecaro) and her husband Antonio Capovilla was an Italian born in East-Hungary in a place that is now in Croatia. Antonio was born in 1864, and therefore considerably older than Maria (23 years, to be precise). Maria was his second wife, his first was already deceased.

Maria and Antonio had five children, three of whom lived when Maria herself died. In addition, she had 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Not half as extensive as Elisabeth Bolden.

She was a stubborn lady. At the age of 100 (who would not give the gold to get that old !?) she nearly died and her last rites were said when she suddenly recovered. And since that day she hardly had any problems with old-age ailments. She was reborn. She was still walking around (admittedly with a stick, but without help) until her 116th year. In that last year, however, she suddenly fell back sharply, and she would not be able to complete the year 18 days after. She died 18 days before her 117th birthday.

We do not know how she herself thought she could become so old, but what we do know is that she was not to speak about modern development that women nowadays are allowed to (or should) decorate men, rather than different.

4.  Marie-Louise Meilleur, 117 years and 230 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

While numbers 10 to 5 were all 116 years (number 10 within a few days of writing), Marie-Louise Meilleur takes a big leap forward, with her 117 years and 230 days. Marie-Louise was also born in August. August 29, 1880, to be exact, in Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada. She was the third-oldest lady in the world, and the oldest Canadian.

We do not know much about her childhood, only that she married her first husband, Etienne, in 1900. When he and her two parents died in 1911 and 12, she was left alone with two of her four surviving children. In 1913 she moved closer to the border of Ontario, and she returned to Quebec only once in her life, in 1939.

Not at all discouraged by her early accident, Marie-Louise married a second man, Hector Meilleur (under whose name she became known as a over-100s). Together they had six children, and eventually left an inheritance to 85 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren, 57 great-great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

To the delight of smokers, Marie-Louise was one of those examples of people who prove indestructible. She smoked all her life, and died only at the age of 117. Another remarkable fact is that, by the time her moment of death came, her son lived in the same nursing home. Her oldest living daughter had already turned 90.

3.  Lucy Hannah, 117 years and 248 days

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

About as old as Marie-Louise but just 18 days older Lucy Hannah. She was born on July 16, 1875 in Linden, Alabama (United States of America). On her deathbed Lucy was the oldest American ever in the world, and in any case she is the second-oldest in the world.

She was born under the name Lucy Terrell, but moved to Detroit in the Great Migration (a large population displacement caused by racial oppression in the South of America). In Detroit she would eventually also die, but only much later.

First she would marry John Hannah, in 1901, and have eight children, of whom two were alive when she herself died. As we often see, that long life is a bit in the family. Lucy's mother became 99 herself (a very exceptional thing for that time) and her two sisters would also reach 100 years.

Toen Lucy in 1993 stierf vermeldde haar familie dat ze 118 was, maar tien jaar later werd er uit een onderzoek vernomen dat ze eigenlijk 117 jaar was en 248 dagen. Tja, ze was dus wel aan haar 118e jaar bezig, zullen we maar zeggen. Een ander leuk feitje: Lucy werd in hetzelfde jaar geboren als de nummer één van deze lijst. Een goed jaar dus, 1875!

2.  Sarah Knauss, 119 jaar en 97 dagen

Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

If Marie-Louise took a big leap forward on the numbers 9 to 5, Sarah Knauss will do that twice as well. She was in fact 119 years and 97 days. Born on September 24, 1880 (another vintage year with many over-100s), Sarah is the oldest American ever, and was born in Hollywood (at that time not as well known as now, of course). In addition, she lived in Hollywood Pennsylvania, a coal town instead of the home of the movie stars that we think of right now! Sarah lived her entire life in Pennsylvania. In 1901 she married Abraham Lincoln Knauss (no, not the president).

Sarah was a very good seamstress and made her own wedding dress, all the table ware and her own clothes. The story wants her to learn how to sew on her fourth year of life. History wants her to have lived through Sarah seven wars and 23 presidents of the United States! Events that most of us only know from history books she has experienced, such as the sinking of the Titanic (she was 31 years at the time) and the introduction of the first mass-produced Ford car in 1908 (she was 28).

Who else was Sarah? In any case, enterprising. She became a house maker after her marriage and according to her only child and daughter Kathryn (who herself also became 101) this was due to her mother's calm and calm attitude. Nothing, according to Kathryn, could shock Sarah Knauss or pull her balance.

The favorite activities of Sarah at a later age were: watching golf on TV, sewing and doing embroidery, gnawing on milk chocolate (chocolate lovers, watch, this is a recurring pattern), gnawing cashews and eating chips. Apparently the ingredients are a long life ... In any case, for Americans!

Sarah died on December 30, just after Christmas, but just before a new year had started, in 1999, so just not the third millennium. Read more...

1.  Jeanne Calment, 122 years and 164 days
Top Ten Oldest People of the World Ever

This lady claimed that she was in competition with Methusalem. Well, she won that competition. Jeanne Calment was born on the 21st of February in 1875, in Arles, France. She lived in total 122 years and 164 days, and with that she survived both her daughter and her grandson! The story says that as a little girl of 13, Jeanne met Vincent van Gogh, who came walking into her father's shop. Her assessment? "Dirty, badly dressed and ill-mannered!".

Jeanne's father was a shipbuilder, and her mother's family were millers, not a very noble origin. Yet it was apparently a healthy combination, because not only Jeanne, but several family members were getting old. Her older brother Francois for example, was 97, and her own father died at the age of 93, especially for that time a very respectable age.

Jeanne married a nephew named Fernand, a wealthy shop owner. They had only one daughter, Yvonne, and she was unfortunately only 35 years old. She did, however, have one son, the grandson of Jeanne, and called him Frederic. Nine years old when his mother Yvonne died, Frederic was taken over and brought up by Jeanne herself. Unfortunately, he himself was only one year older than his mother, and died at the age of 36.

A smart move by Jeanne was her next action. She foresaw that her apartment could not be inherited by family (after all, her immediate descendant had already died) and so she made a contract with a former lawyer Andre Francois. The idea was that she would leave her apartment to him if he paid her 2500 Francs monthly until her death. How could poor Andre Francois know that she would be 122 years old? Anyway, Andre finally had to pay twice the value of Jeanne's apartment. And he was never able to enjoy it himself, because he died before Jeanne (his widow, however, continued to pay the bill by appointment).

Like many elderly people, Jeanne eventually ended up in an elderly nursing home. Unlike most elderly people, however, Jeanne managed to postpone this until her 110th year. She was cycling until her 100th! And she was not at all ready with her life even in the nursing home. At the age of 114 she even played a role - herself - in a film about Vincent van Gogh. But even this indestructible lady could only demand postponement of the execution, no adjustment. At the age of 121 she died on August 4, 1997. Lovers of olive oil and chocolate are happy to praise themselves, according to Jeanne her long life was mainly due to her diet: a lot of olive oil (even as skin ointment) a lot of port and at least 1 kilogram of chocolate every week. So that is the recipe to eternal life?

Omdat uitdrukkingen en spreekwoorden soms net zo oud zijn als de mensen hierboven beschreven, willen we deze top tien afsluiten met een paar mooie ouderdoms-spreekwoorden. Voor we beginnen nog even dit: zit het hem niet in de kwantiteit dan moet het komen uit de kwaliteit. Daarmee bedoelen we dat lang leven niet per se een goed leven wil betekenen. En vise versa, je kan een kort leven lijden, en toch een heel intensief gelukkig leven hebben. Pessimisten leven langer? In ieder geval lijkt het langer, als je pessimist bent. Immers, je ziet overal ellende! Afijn, een paar mooie spreuken die bedoeld zijn om de lezer wijzer te maken. Of je er echt wijzer van wordt, dat hangt af van de lezer. Ken je de spreuk niet, probeer het eens te beredeneren?

Want: Men is nooit te oud om te leren. • Echter, doe niet teveel moeite, immers: Jong en oud, op het eind wordt alles koud • Toch is een vooruitziende blik wel handig: Die jong spaart, lijdt oud geen gebrek • Andere mensen beweren echter: Ouderdom komt met gebreken • Maar in tegenstelling: piepende wagens lopen het langst • Ten slotte komt het dus neer op: Beter jong gestorven als oud bedorven

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