The world’s oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, a woman from New York City, has passed away at the age of 116 years and 311 days, according to NBC 4 New York. Robert Young, a senior consultant for the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, a group that verifies and tracks the most elderly people in the world, said that Jones passed away at 8:26 p.m. Thursday at her senior home in Brooklyn where she had lived for more than three decades. He further added she had been ill for the past 10 days.
As the world’s oldest person, Susannah had lived in three different centuries, through two world wars and had seen 20 U.S. presidencies. Furthermore she witnessed several historical events that most of us have only read about in history books. Susannah, who was born in 1899, have become the world’s oldest person when 117-year-old Misao Okawa died in Tokyo, Japan, last year.
Her birth year marks several key historical events such as the invention of aspirin, the beginning of the Second Boer War in South Africa, and the beginning of the war between the United States and the Philippines. Furthermore, Susannah was born during the time when Queen Victoria still ruled the British Empire, when “automobile” was still a relatively new term, before the Wright Brothers flew the first plane, and before Einstein came up with his famous theory of general relativity.
Known affectionately as “Miss Susie,” Jones was the last known American to be born in the 19th century. She was born on July 6, 1899, in Montgomery, Alabama. Her parents were sharecroppers and her grandparents were slaves. She was the third born of 11 siblings and she attended a special school for young black girls, receiving her high school diploma in 1922. According to a report by Time, she had always wanted to be a teacher. She was actually accepted to the Tuskegee Institute’s teacher training program, but could not afford to go. So upon graduation, she instead worked with her family, helping them pick crops.
Later, she moved to New York City and went on to work as a live-in housekeeper and childcare provider. According to her niece, Lois Judge, in an interview with the Associated Press in 2015, the world’s oldest person absolutely adored kids. Though briefly married once, she never had children of her own. So she had always taken to call the children she cared for as “her” children. She does, however, have more than a hundred nephews and nieces. And Jones was a generous woman as well. With her earnings, she helped send several of her nieces to college. She even funded a college scholarship program targeted towards African-American students, called The Calhoun Club.
Susannah had credited her longevity to lots of sleep — she slept more than 10 hours everyday — and abstinence from drinking and smoking. She, however, loved bacon, admitting that she ate four strips of bacon with scrambled egg every day in an interview she gave to Time in 2014. One of her neices, Lois Judge, said in a different interview that her aunt benefited from eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, which she handpicked herself on the farm she grew up in.
With the passing of Susannah Mushatt Jones, Emma Morano of Italy is now the world’s oldest living person, and the last person to be born before 1900 (November, 1899), as confirmed by GRG. Also they have confirmed that Russian-born Goldie Michelson, a 113-year-old living in Massachusetts, is now the oldest living American.
[Photo by Richard Drew/AP Images]