One of New England's oldest residents who was born in Halifax dies at age 111
Thu Nov 4, 5:34 PM ET
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - One of New England's oldest residents, who died at 111, will be remembered Saturday with a champagne toast.
"I was digging out a magnum of champagne," said Gordon Muise, 81, of Westborough, Mass. He plans to bring it to a luncheon following a funeral mass for his mother, Virginia Muise. "It isn't often you have a mother who lives to 111."
Virginia Muise died Tuesday at the Grafton County Nursing Home in North Haverhill. A widow, Muise is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.
Muise was born in Halifax on July 27, 1893. She was 16 when the Titanic sank in 1912, and remembered seeing coffins of the victims stacked on docks there.
"Her father worked on the docks and she actually watched (survivors) disembark," said Eileen Bolander, Muise's nursing home administrator.
In 1917, the family survived an ammunition ship explosion that killed about 2,000 people in Halifax. "The whole city blew out its windows," Muise said.
In 1923, the family moved to Boston - home of the Red Sox who were World Series (news - web sites) champions in 1918 - and Virginia Muise took a shine to baseball. She was a regular visitor to Fenway Park, taking advantage of ticket discounts offered to women.
Nursing home staff said she kept a Red Sox cap in her bed and was delighted when the team won the World Series last month. "She loved the Red Sox. She was passionate about them," Bolander said.
In Boston, she worked as a housekeeper and cook before becoming manager of the cafeteria at the former Boston Lying-In Hospital, where she stayed until retiring at 65.
Her husband, Charles Muise, was a blacksmith. He died in 1977 at 94.
According to a Los Angeles-based group called the Gerontology Research Group, Virginia Muise was the oldest known New Englander and No. 31 of the 59 oldest people in the world. The group keeps track of super centenarians - people over 110. There was no other New Englander listed, unless you count a 113-year-old man who was born in Maine and moved to New York.
105-year-old woman makes her first-ever visit to the doctor: Report
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - A 105-year-old Bosnian granny has been treated by a doctor for the first time in her life, a Bosnian news agency reported Wednesday.
Milja Markovic slipped in her house in a remote mountain village near Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia earlier this week and broke her leg, her son Momir told Srna news agency. He said his mother had never been ill in her life.
Markovic was not even registered in the files of the local hospital in Srebrenica, located some 70 kilometres northeast of Sarajevo.
HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba's "120 Years Club," inspired by President Fidel Castro to help Cubans live to a ripe old age, has claimed one of its members as the world's oldest man at 119.
Benito Martinez Abagan actually says he was born in Haiti in 1880 and came to Cuba in 1925 to work in the sugar cane fields and build roads. But both his memory and identity document, which shows him to be 123, are questionable, say officials.
Dr. Eugenio Selman-Housein, Castro's personal physician and president of the "120 Years Club," said experts are working to determine the man's exact age.
"We are sure he is at least 119, or a bit less. That still makes him the world's oldest living man at present," Selman said on Wednesday.
According to authenticated records the world's oldest living man is a 113-year-old Puerto Rican.
A dozen Cubans over the age of 100 attended Wednesday's first meeting of the club, which aims to extend longevity in Cuba through healthier diets, moderate exercise and plenty of motivation.
Cuba has a life expectancy of 77 years, the highest among developing nations and 24th in the world. That is five years shorter than Japan, where people live longest, on average to 82.
Cuba's Communist government points to its free public health system as the main reason Cubans live longer, and the target is to raise life expectancy to 80.
Castro, 78 and the world's longest-serving political leader, encouraged Selman to start the "120 Years Club" and the membership is growing, the doctor said.
"Cuba is the only country that has all the conditions people need to live to 120 years," he said. Stem cell research under way in Cuba could extend that limit, he added.
Club geriatrics expert Enrique Vega said a good genetic mix and Cubans' cheerful outlook contributed to their longevity. But Cubans still smoke excessively, exercise too little and hardly eat vegetables and fish, so there is room for improvement, he said.
For 103-year-old Agustin Gutierrez, the secret to a long life is a productive and sexually active life. "The more I worked the stronger I got, and there were many women," he said
SAO PAULO, Brazil - An elderly woman living in a small, wooden shack in rural southern Brazil could be the world's oldest living woman, according to a Brazilian record-keeping organization.
Maria Olivia da Silva, who recently celebrated her 125th birthday, "is definitely the oldest living woman in Brazil and possibly in the entire world," said Iolete Cadari, administrative director of RankBrasil, this country's equivalent to the Guinness World Records.
Da Silva's birth certificate shows that she was born Feb. 28, 1880 in the city of Itapetininga, Sao Paulo state, Cadari said by telephone. She currently lives in the small town of Astorga, some 370 miles west of Sao Paulo in the state of Parana.
Laura McTurk, a spokeswoman for Guinness World Records in London said by e-mail that the organization was researching its records for any information on da Silva. She said Guinness may have an official statement on Friday.
According to the Guinness World Records Web site, the world's oldest woman is 113-year-old Hendrikje Van Andel-Schipper, who was born June 29, 1890.
Da Silva, whom Cadari described as "mentally sound and rational," was married twice and has outlived all but three of her 14 children — four of them adopted.
"Her memory is impressive and she loves to talk," Cadari said, adding that Da Silva lives with her 58-year-old adopted son, Aparecido H. Silva.
RED LION, Pa. (AP) - Minnie Stein had just one complaint on her 106th birthday. She was sure she was only 105. "She always thought that she was a year younger," Stein's daughter, Joan Gillespie, said on her mother's birthday Tuesday.
But Gillespie said a birth certificate obtained from Harrisburg showed that her mother was born in 1899. "She was not happy about it at all!"
Stein struggles to hear and see. She makes her way around her small apartment, 26 steps up from the street, slowly but steadily and resists entreaties to move in with family members or into an assisted living home. "She won't hear of it," Gillespie said.
Stein has lived alone since her husband, Ervin Stein, died at age 52. She worked at a cigar factory until she was 70, has been in good health and said she didn't need dentures until she was about 103. She takes no medications and attributed her longevity to eating well and taking vitamins.
While Stein said she would have made some decisions differently in life, she wouldn't elaborate, preferring to talk about memories of a beautiful sunset, helping her father plant corn, and traveling across the Continental Divide.
"One day when I was going along the road I just heard a bird singing so beautiful, and the air was so clean and so fresh," she said. "I will never forget it."
Cuba's living embodiment of history
Ciego de Avila, Cuba
"I am 125 today," beamed Benito Martinez, as he joined the birthday party at his local old people's home in this central Cuban city.
Dressed in his Sunday best of freshly-ironed shirt and trilby hat, he seemed determined to prove that laughter and music are the secret of a long and happy life.
A huge, toothless grin formed over his well-aged face as he grabbed the hand of one of his young nurses. They began to dance to the tune of a local guitarist.
Those legs of his might date back to the 19th Century, but they still have plenty of rhythm.
Benito Martinez's life story is short on detail, but very long on years. He says he was born near the Haitian town of Cavaellon in 1880. Looking for work, he travelled over to neighbouring Cuba by steamship in the mid-1920s. He planned to stay for only a few months, before going back home [...]
Veteran celebrates 109th birthday
Scotland's oldest veteran of World War I has been celebrating his 109th birthday.
Family and friends marked the occasion in Alfred Anderson's home town of Alyth, Perthshire, on Saturday.
The father-of-five was also due to be joined by Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin, Colonel of his old regiment the Black Watch.
The veteran, who received his tenth telegram from the Queen, said: "I don't feel any different."
His son-in-law, Graeme Maxwell, said he had been busy opening a host of cards and gifts from well-wishers.
He said: "He's enjoying his day, just taking it all in. He's a remarkable man."
Mr Maxwell, 74, who is married to the 109-year-old's youngest child Christine, 71, said the day would also see the unveiling of a sculpture in honour of Mr Anderson.
Scots artist Tony Morrow, who created the much-loved Desperate Dan statue in Dundee city centre, has made a special bust of the soldier.
It will go on display at Alyth Library before becoming part of an exhibition at the Black Watch museum in Perth.
Born in Dundee in 1896, Mr Anderson signed up for the army as a teenager and found himself amongst one of the first units to go into France after WWI broke out.
After the war he took over his father's building and joinery business and brought up his family.
He said he puts his good health down to staying clear of cigarettes and too much alcohol, but could do with a new pair of legs.
A Polish army veteran - thought to have been Britain's oldest man - has died at a nursing home in Cumbria. Jerzy Pajaczkowski-Dydynski - known as George - who was 111, lived in Sedbergh until ill-health forced a move to a nursing home in Grange over Sands.
The former colonel was born in what is now the Ukraine, but was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1894. He escaped the German invasion of Poland in 1940 and worked as a gardener in Scotland before moving to Cumbria.
His son-in-law Richard Thomas from Birks Fold, said he and other members of the family had seen the highly decorated veteran at the Boarbank Hall nursing home before he died on 6 December. Mr Thomas said: "We saw him on the day he died. He had a very colourful and eventful life."
Mr Dydynski studied law at the University of Vienna, but when World War I broke out joined the Polish Army and saw service in the war between Russia and Poland in the 1920's.
He was still with the army when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, but eventually managed to escape to Britain.
He spent months in hospital after falling ill on New Year's Eve 2003 and breaking his hip.
The colonel was born in Lwow on 19 July, 1894, and moved to Sedbergh from Edinburgh in 1993 with his now late second wife Dorothy.
The family said his long life was down to his positive outlook and, until recently, a daily half glass of Guinness.
He leaves 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
The colonel was called up to the Austrian Infantry in 1915 and became a sergeant before going to Montenegro and Albania where he fought against the Italians.
He married in 1924 but his first wife later died so he married again in 1946.
Family from Poland, Britain, the US, Australia and France are due to attend a funeral service at Sedbergh Parish Church on 12 December.
Polish war veteran Jerzy Pajaczkowski-Dydynski - thought to have been Britain's oldest man - has died aged 111.
Here is an extract from a self-penned history of his own life, written in July 1984 for his granddaughter Tabitha.
I was born on 19 July 1894 in Lwów, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
When I was eight-years-old my father became head of the general Hospital in the town of Sanok, and I left Lwów. I studied German, Latin and Greek and in 1912 I started reading law at the University of Lwów.
I went to Vienna in 1914 at the outbreak of World War I and expected to be called up at any time. I was called up in 1915 to the Austrian infantry.
My training took place chiefly in Hungary and Bosnia. In 1916 as a sergeant I went to Montenegro and Albania, against the Italians. My unit was transferred in 1918 to northern Italy, where in the last hours of the war, I was captured by Italian cavalry and became a prisoner of war.
As a Pole I was able to get in touch with a Polish-French military mission in Italy and eventually became free at Christmas 1918 and was sent to France.
Back in Poland I soon became a full lieutenant and staff officer in an infantry division. I took part in the 1920-21 Polish War against Soviet Russia. At the end of it I was moved to the Polish 2nd Army. After two years of intense work I became a captain.
I married in 1924 and was stationed in Przemysl. I became a major in 1925 and was sent to the front line as commander of an infantry battalion. In 1928 I was promoted, but there was no time for hobbies and very little time for my own family.
In 1930 I was moved to Warsaw and in 1935 I became a lieutenant-colonel and second in command of an infantry regiment in a small town east of Warsaw called Biala Podlaska.
At the outbreak of war in 1939 I was at the general headquarters of the Polish Army in Warsaw. After the defeat of Poland and the Soviet invasion the whole Polish GHQ crossed the Romanian frontier and was interned.
My family had left Warsaw by means of an evacuation train. I was able to trick the Romanian military police and reach Bucharest to collect my family. We managed to reach Paris, where I continued my army work.
After the collapse of France in 1940 I tried to reach different French harbours in order to escape to England. We landed in Plymouth on 28 June 1940. After staying at various military camps in Lanarkshire and Peebles I was sent to Perth as commander of the Polish Garrison.
My last job in Edinburgh in 1943 was as a member of a committee translating and adapting British military regulations and manuals for the use of Polish Units.
In 1964 I was promoted to full colonel.
I received a number of Polish decorations - the Cross of Polonia Restituta; Cross of Valour (1920); Silver Cross of Merit (1925). A Romanian decoration of distinction (1931). I also received three Austrian decorations in WWI for active service.
In 1946 I had married again, and in 1993 we moved from Edinburgh to Sedbergh to be near my daughter Dorcas and her husband Richard.
I was able to visit Poland in 1996 for the first time after the war. My 100th birthday in 1997 was celebrated with a telegram from the Queen.
On my 107th birthday on 19 July 2001, I was honoured that the President of Poland bestowed on me the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.
Back in the mid-1980s possibly the single most famous athlete in the history of the Winter Olympics, Jackrabbit Johannson, died at the age of 111. The man who introduced skiing to Canada in the 1890s, "the Jackrabbit" last skied in the 1982 Olympics at age 107 (admittedly in a ceremonial turn). He also delivered a rousing Olympic speech (carried world-wide on television) on "Enthusiasm."
Now if a genuinely world-famous individual such as Johannson makes it to 111, why aren't there a greater number of 111-year-olds down here among the rest of us?
Ecuadorean Woman, 116, Is World's Oldest By JEANNETH VALDIVIESO, Associated Press Writer
Sat Dec 17,12:51 AM ET
At 100 years old, she became bedridden and so weakened from a stomach ailment that a priest administered last rites. But Maria Esther de Capovilla recovered, and 16 years later she has become the oldest person on Earth, according to Guinness World Records.
Born on Sept. 14, 1889, the same year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, Capovilla was married the year the United States entered World War I — 1917 — and widowed in 1949.
"We see the condition she is in, and what is admirable is not only that she reached this age, but that she got here in this shape, in very good health," Capovilla's daughter, Irma, told an Associated Press reporter at the home where her mother lives in this coastal city.
Seated on a sofa and waving a fan with a slender, steady hand in the tropical heat, Capovilla seemed bemused by the presence of strangers. Irma, 79, leaned close to her mother's ear, and speaking in a loud voice, told her she was famous because she was the world's oldest person.
Capovilla shook her head and smiled.
Her calm disposition may be the secret to her longevity, her daughter said.
"She always had a very tranquil character," Irma said. "She does not get upset by anything. She takes things very calmly and she has been that way her whole life."
Capovilla, who comes from a well-to-do family, was confirmed as the oldest person on Dec. 9, after her family sent details of her birth and marriage certificates to the British-based publisher. She takes the oldest person title from 115-year-old American Elizabeth Bolden, Guinness World Records said in a statement e-mailed to AP.
Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, of Puerto Rico, retains the title as oldest man, at 114.
The oldest person ever whose age was authenticated, according to Guinness, was a woman named Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years and 164 days. She was born in France on Feb. 21, 1875, and died at a nursing home in Arles in southern France on Aug. 4, 1997.
Three of Capovilla's five children — daughters Irma and Hilda, 81, and son Anibal, 77, — are still alive, along with 10 of her 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, the last of whom was born in February 2003.
In her youth, Capovilla liked to embroider, paint, play piano and dance the waltz at parties, the family said. She also visited a nearby plantation, where she would drink fresh donkey and cow milk.
She always ate three meals a day and never smoked or drank hard liquor — "only a small cup of wine with lunch and nothing more," Irma said.
For the past 20 years, Capovilla has lived with her elder daughter, Hilda, and son-in-law, Martin.
Fervently religious, Capovilla says her prayers daily, takes communion every Friday and always joins the family for meals, enjoying lentils and chicken for lunch, which she eats unassisted with fork and knife in small bites, Irma said.
At night, she has coffee with hot milk and bread with cheese or jam, and she says she can't do without something sweet: gelatin, ice cream or cake.
Capovilla still likes to watch television and reads newspaper headlines, with some difficulty, but never with glasses. She has not been able to leave the house in nearly two years. A home assistant helps her walk without the aid of a cane or wheelchair.
In recent years, her family said, she has become less communicative as her hearing worsened and her memory has started to fade. "Her memory is not bad. She remembers many things, but not everything. She is not 100 percent lucid," said Irma.
Irma and Hilda showed Capovilla a portrait of their father, an Austrian sailor who came to Ecuador in 1910. After peering intently for a moment, Capovilla recognized the image.
"It is Antonio Capovilla," she said.
"I was at the plantation Josefina and they brought a friend," she said, explaining in a soft voice how she was introduced to the man who would become her husband.
I don't know which thread it was, but someone was talking about humans being genetically engineered to live longer in the same way nematode worms have. Someone was saying he didn't think it could happen, as people seem to have only expanded a few years in lifespan in the last few decades. And that we might have reached the end of our ability to live longer. I was at a talk the other day by Armand Leroi, author of the book Mutants and a geneticists specialising in nematode worms. I asked him his thoughts on it, and he said he definitely thought humans could benefit from geneering, althought it would be more complicated than with the worms. Just thought I'd mention that.
World's oldest woman dies at 116
Maria Esther de Capovilla - officially the world's oldest woman - has died in Ecuador aged 116, relatives said.
Capovilla died at dawn on Sunday in the coastal city of Guayaquil after succumbing to pneumonia. Her funeral was planned for Monday.
Born in 1889, the same year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, Capovilla was 22 when the Titanic sank and 79 when astronauts first set foot on the Moon.
Her family said donkey milk might be key to her longevity.
Capovilla was born in Guayaquil, to a well-to-do Ecuadorean family which traced its ancestry to the Spanish conquistadores.
Her family was expecting to have a 117th birthday party
Gerontology consultant, Guinness World Records
She was said to enjoy painting, embroidery, dancing and walking. In her youth she would also drink fresh milk from the donkeys at her aunt's farm - something relatives credit with helping her live so long.
She is said never to have smoked, ate regular small meals, and only drank in moderation.
She was also fervently religious, and took communion every Friday, said reports.
She married Antonio Capovilla, an Austrian sailor, in 1917, and was widowed in 1949.
They had five children, three of whom are still alive, and 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
She spent the last 20 years living with her daughter and son-in-law, and generally enjoyed good health, Robert Young, adviser to Guinness World Records, told Associated Press.
"She was in good shape until she had a bout of pneumonia and she died unexpectedly. Her family was expecting to have a 117th birthday party," Mr Young said.
"They had recently said that she was in good health."
Capovilla was officially certified the world's oldest woman on 8 December 2005, after her family sent extensive documentation to the Guinness World Records.
Capovilla's likely successor as oldest woman is an American, Elizabeth Bolden of Memphis, Tennessee, said Mr Young.
"She is 116, but she was born 11 months after Capovilla," he said.
The oldest man is 115, and the oldest person ever to have lived is documented as Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122.
'World's oldest man' dies in Cuba
By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana
Benito Martinez said he came to Cuba from Haiti in 1925
A Cuban man who claimed to be the oldest person in the world has died in hospital at what he believed was the age of 126.
Benito Martinez, whose age was never proved, was the star attraction of a Cuban government campaign to promote healthy lives for its oldest citizens.
He was absolutely certain that he was born in Haiti in 1880.
Mr Martinez had long enjoyed being living proof that it was possible to live happily to a very ripe old age.
Until his last months, he led a relatively active life, tending plants outside his one-bedroom house, visiting the local old people's home and being more than happy to demonstrate that being 120-plus did not mean you could not dance.
He was born in Haiti and is believed to have come to Cuba in 1925 at the age of 45 as a farm labourer.
He worked for a while on a ranch in eastern Cuba, which happened to be owned by Fidel Castro's father.
His neighbours remember the man with the broad toothless grin as always being very old.
He never married, something which together with a life of hard work, fresh vegetables, not too many cigars and little alcohol, he attributed to being the secret of a long life.
Mr Martinez was the leading light of Cuba's 120 club, an organisation which aims to promote healthy living for the elderly.
The Cuban government, which takes great pride in the fact that the country's average life expectancy is 77 years, the same as the most developed nations, tried but failed to uncover baptism records or a birth certificate in Haiti.
For that reason Benito Martinez was never officially the world's oldest man. But he died convinced that he was.
Does anybody recall the Ecuadorian (I think) gentleman who became front-page US news around 1958, because of his claim to be 168 years old? His claim was supposedly endorsed by other residents of his village.
The world's oldest woman has died at the age of 115 in a Montreal retirement home, Canadian media have reported.
Julie Winnefred Bertrand was born 16 September 1891 in the Quebec mill town of Coaticook near the US border.
She was officially proclaimed the world's oldest woman, and the second oldest person, after the death of American Elizabeth Bolden in December.
What's the longevity record for individuals more famous for things OTHER than their extreme longevity?
After all, Bob Hope, Madame Chaing Kai-Shek, Irving Berlin, Leni Reifenstahl, Eubie Blake, Rose Kennedy, George Abbott, George Burns, and British aircraft designer Sopwith, among a good many other celebrities, all made it past the century mark.
But the record among already-famous people seems to belong to the great Olympic skier "Jackrabbit" Johanssen, who made it to 111...and who was still skiing at 107!
World's oldest person dies at 115
The world's oldest person, Emiliano Mercado del Toro, has died aged 115 at his home in Puerto Rico.
His great-niece, Dolores Martinez, said he died like a little angel, and that his great great-nephew and a carer were with him at the time.
Mr Mercado del Toro had been having difficult breathing recently but was alert before his death.
I have to confess that as a child I assumed that a statistically noticeable minority of individuals lived to be 120 years old. It was because of a fairly widespread playful insult - "My great-grandmother lived to be 120, and when she'd been dead two weeks she looked better than you do now!"
The world's oldest person, Emma Faust Tillman, has died in the US aged 114.
Mrs Tillman, the daughter of former slaves, died "peacefully" on Sunday night, said an official at a nursing home in Hartford, Connecticut.
Mrs Tillman had lived independently until she was 110 and had never smoked or drank, her family and friends said.
She only became the world's oldest person last week, after the death of a 115-year-old man in Puerto Rico, the Guinness Book of World Records said.
"She was a wonderful woman," said Karen Chadderton, administrator of Riverside health and Rehabilitation Center in Hartford.
Mrs Tillman had been very religious and had always attributed her longevity to God's will, according to her family and friends.
She was born on 22 November 1892 on a plantation near Gibsonville in North Carolina.
In an interview with a local historical society in 1994, Mrs Tillman said her parents had been slaves.
Longevity appears to be common in Mrs Tillman's family - three of her sisters and a brother lived past 100.
Japan's Yone Minagawa, who was born in 1893, is now believed to be the world's oldest person.