Two of the oldest people in the United States died this past Sunday. Mary Josephine Ray, who was certified as the oldest person living in the United States, died Sunday at age 114 years, 294 days. Daisey Bailey, who was 113 years, 342 days also passed away on the same day. Kama Chinen from Japan retains her title as the world’s oldest living person at 114 years and 304 days. The verified world record for longest lived person ever was French woman Jeanne Calment, who passed away August 4 1997 at the age of 122 years, 164 days. As our knowledge about human health and the technology for treating ourselves improves we are going to see more and more people living to 100 and beyond. For now though, Jeanne Calment can rest easily knowing that it will be at least 7 years until Kama Chinen or anyone else can take her throne.
It is amazing to think that supercentenarians like Mary Josephine Ray began their days on this earth in the 1800’s! Ms. Ray died at a nursing home in Westmoreland and was apparently active until about two weeks before her death. Last September Gertrude Baines was also active until she passed away at the age of 115, transferring the title of world’s oldest person from the United States over to Ms. Chinen in Japan. Contrary to our intuition, those who live past 100 are often healthy, active, and alert like Ms. Ray and Ms. Baines.
Here at the Hub we have always had a fascination with keeping track of the world’s oldest people and chronicling the pursuit of living long and healthy. With a healthy lifestyle and a little bit of luck, you and I have a good chance of joining these centenarians in their esteemed triple digit club. We might even make it to the Methuselarity. Now who wants another bite of spinach?