We all have a biological clock that's ticking down to the moment where it all just ceases, but some of our clocks are programmed to tick longer than others. For this incredible Archive, we're honoring the most persistent of the human race, the oldest living supercentenarians.
Born on November 29th, 1899, Emma Martina Luigia Morano is the last living person to have been born in the 19th century. The 116-year-old woman resides in Pallanza, Italy and has outlived every other member of her immediate family, including the son she gave birth to in 1937, who died at 6-months-old. After the death of her husband in 1978, Emma lived a life of solitude, working in the kitchen of Collegio Santa Maria boarding school until her retirement at 75-years-old. Despite her age, Morano is able to care for herself, citing a diet of 3 raw eggs a day, homemade brandy, and the occasional chocolate as contributing to her longevity.
We were starting to wonder if anybody outside of Europe, Japan, and the United States lived past 100, and along comes Violet Brown, a 116-year-old Jamaican resident that holds the record as the oldest verified Jamaican person ever. Officially recognized as being born on March 10th, 1900, Violet remains as the last living subject of Queen Victoria, who once had control over Jamaica in a way that Brown herself described as "like slavery." Over the course of her life, Violet gave birth to 4 children, the oldest of which, 96-year-old Harold Fairweather, is said to be the oldest person with a living parent. During an interview in May of 2016, Violet expressed her desire to live for at least another two years - a feat we hope she makes!
At over 116 years old, playful Nabi Tajima stands - or likely mostly sits - as the oldest living person in Japan. Brought into the world on August 4th, 1900 in the Wan Village area of Araki on Kikajima Island, Nabi lived a fruitful life that gave her an extended bloodline of 128, which includes her own 9 children, 28 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, 34 great-great-grandchildren and her dog Seabiscuit. Okay, okay, it's 35 great-great-grandchildren. It doesn't even end there, as the supercentenarian also has an unverified amount of great-great-great grandchildren, which likely brings her descendant figure closer to 140. At least when she does pass , Nabi knows she's leaving behind a long line of Tajima blood.
Chiyo Miyako stands as the 2nd oldest living person in Japan, born on May 2nd, 1901. The 115-year-old woman was born and raised in Japan and currently resides in Kanagawa as the oldest living person in the prefecture. Another mystery on this list of living phenomena, Chiyo Miyako's life is not widely publicized and is pretty well hidden. What can be deduced about the aged Japanese woman is that, as of her 114th birthday, her health was not at its best. One of Miyako's grandchildren, Naoto, posted to her Twitter account on May 17th, 2015 that looking at her aging grandmother is painful and that the two hadn't held hands in a long time. Despite any health issues she may be having, the tiny woman keeps hanging on.
Ana Maria Vela-Rubio
At over 114-years-old, Ana Vela-Rubio lived her life close to traditions, respecting the views of her parents and never marrying the partner that they adamantly disapproved of. Of course, that's just a small bit of this Spanish supercentenarian's life. Born on October 29, 1901, Ana holds the title of the oldest living person in Spain and the 2nd-oldest living European. Throughout her life, Ana worked as a seamstress in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Barcelona, Spain. With her life-partner, Ana gave birth to 4 children, one of which passed away at the age of 10 and another at the age of 82 when Ana was 104 years old. Her surviving children, Anna and John, are 84 and 82-years-old respectively, and while the supercentenarian's daughter is relatively healthy, John suffers from cognitive impairment and is confined to a wheelchair.
Marie Josephine Gaudette
Born March 25th, 1902, the now 114-year-old Marie Josephine Gaudette is the oldest living American-born individual. If that raised an eyebrow, the difference between Jersey's Adele Dunlap and Marie is that Dunlap still lives in the United States. Marie decided to cut and run in 1958, joining a convent in Rome, Italy after living in Canada and France. The American-born resident of Italy returned to her roots to teach music and arts and garnered attention in 2008 for being among the oldest of voters ever during the Barack Obama / John McCain presidential squabble. At the time, she had had a 56-year hiatus from voting and, at 106-years-old, reported no issues beyond hearing loss, though the increased attention made her uncomfortable. Sometime after the election, Marie returned to Rome where she continues her life as Sister Cecilia Gaudette.
Japanese supercentenarian Yukie Hino was born on April 17th, 1902, making her over 114 years old, the 3rd oldest living person in Japan, and the oldest person living in Niigata prefecture. At her age, Yukie has lived through both World Wars, likely emerging on the other side of the conflicts with more stories to tell at her advanced age. Little is known of the aged woman, save for her resistance to death and desire to live forever, but rumor has it that the onna no hito may have the secrets to eternal life - a rumor that we're starting, of course, because Yukie's life is otherwise a massive mystery. Even her birthplace and parents are a mystery - and seeing as how common the name Hino is, it's going to take some heavy Ancestry.com searching to narrow down that information.
As the 3rd oldest resident of Italy, 114-year-old Giuseppina Projetto-Frau is close to taking that mantle and adding quite the accomplishment to her lengthy existence. Born on May 30th, 1902, Giuseppina was 1 of 4 children and was born in the town of La Maddalena in Italy's island of Sardinia to her Sicilian parents, and if the Golden Girls taught us anything, she likely has a quick wit to her. Surprising for a true Italian matriarch, Giuseppina only had 3 children of her own, one of whom she currently lives with. For the white-haired maiden's 114th birthday, she was visited by the mayor of her current hometown, Montelupo, who gladly posed for an adorable photo-op.
Here in the United States, the survival of 113-year-old Adele Dunlap is a surprise not just because of her age, but because she survived so long living in the cesspool that is New Jersey. Oh relax, I jest, of course; but we do marvel at the lengthy history of the Woodland Park resident, who was born on December 12th, 1902. After being dubbed the oldest living person in the United States, which came with the death of Goldie Michelson of Worcester, Massachusetts, Dunlap received plenty of media attention - and she answered in ways her longevity more than granted her. When asked what it meant to be an American, our new hero simply responded with "Well, I've never been anything else." The old lass currently lives at the Country Arch Care Center after having lived in 7 different cities and townships in Jersey. Though her age has been verified, Dunlap is known for trying to pass for 102 and 104, though she doesn't look a day over… 99, right guys?
On January 2nd, 1903, Japan resident Kane Tanaka was brought into the world. Now, 113 years later, she's still ticking despite having lived through some of the worst times the world has seen. Kane is the 4th oldest living person from Japan, though she may be among the most memorable thanks to a book written about her by her son. At the time of publishing, Kane was 107 years old, so technically it's not a definitive volume about her life! On how she's lived so long, Kane believes she has her faith in God to thank. She currently resides in a nursing home in Fukuoka Prefecture where she writes poetry and gets around with nothing more than a walker.