Supercentenarians  Stories 

María Branyas Morera as of February, 2024


“Life is not eternal for anyone,” she tweeted on New Year’s Day. 

“At my age, a new year is a gift, a humble celebration, a beautiful journey, a moment of happiness."

"Let’s enjoy life together.”

María Branyas Morera, born in 1907, is now in the Guinness record book after death of Lucille Randon, 118, in the French town of Toulon

“Order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity and staying away from toxic people” is what Branyas credits with her longevity, according to the Guinness site.

“I think longevity is also about being lucky,” Branyas said, Guinness officials added. “Luck and good genetics.”

Branyas was born in San Francisco on 4 March 1907, a year after her parents moved from Spain to the US. Over the next eight years, the family moved to Texas and New Orleans, where her father founded the Spanish-language magazine Mercurio before they returned to Spain and settled in Catalonia.

In 1918, the Spanish flu pandemic began sweeping the world. Then, when Branyas was 29, the Spanish Civil War broke out, leaving her with what she had previously summarized as “very bad memories”. The Second World War followed soon after.

Branyas started a family with her husband, a Catalan doctor named Joan Moret, who has given her three children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.

On the couple’s wedding day, after hours of waiting for him, they learned that their priest had unexpectedly died. There was no telephone at the church to call for another chaplain, so the family had to get in a car and search for another one.

Branyas has embraced advances in technology since then, embracing social media and digital communications in particular. Branyas uses a voice-to-text device and Twitter to stay in touch with her loved ones.

Juan Vicente Pérez as of February, 2024

The world's oldest known living man is 114-year-old Juan Vicente Pérez of Venezuela, born 27 May 1909.

Jeanne Louise Calment 21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) was a French supercentenarian and the oldest human whose age is well-documented, with a lifespan of 122 years and 164 days. Her longevity attracted media attention and medical studies of her health and lifestyle.

Asked about her daily routine while at primary school, she replied that "when you are young, you get up at eight o'clock". In lieu of a solid breakfast, she would have either coffee with milk, or hot chocolate, and at noon her father would pick her up from school to have lunch at home before she returned to school for the afternoon. In the following years, she continued to live with her parents, awaiting marriage, painting, and improving her piano skills.

On 8 April 1896, at the age of 21, she married. Her husband owned a drapery business located in a classic Provençal-style building in the center of Arles. Jeanne employed servants and never had to work; she led a leisurely lifestyle within the upper society of Arles, pursuing hobbies such as fencing, cycling, tennis, swimming, rollerskating ("I fell flat on my face"), playing the piano and making music with friends. In the summer, the couple would stay at Uriage for mountaineering on the glacier. ("Even at 16, I had good legs.") They also went hunting for rabbits and wild boars in the hills of Provence, using an "18mm rifle". Calment said she disliked shooting birds. She gave birth to her only child, a daughter named Yvonne Marie Nicolle Calment, on 19 January 1898. Yvonne married army officer Joseph Billot on 3 February 1926, and their only son, Frédéric, was born on 23 December of the same year.[2] At the outbreak of World War I, her husband Fernand, who was 46, was deemed too old to serve in the military.

In 1965, aged 90 and with no heirs left, Calment signed a life estate contract on her apartment. She continued cycling until her hundredth birthday. Around age 100, she fractured her leg, but recovered quickly and was able to walk again.Her move was precipitated by the winter of 1985 which froze the water pipes in her house (she never used heating in the winter) and caused frostbite to her hands. In 1985, she moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110. Seated on her armchair, she did gymnastics wearing her stereo headset. Her exercises included flexing and extending the hands, then the legs. Nurses noted that she moved faster than other residents who were 30 years younger. Her breakfast consisted of coffee with milk and rusks dry biscuits. She made herself daily fruit salads with bananas and oranges. She enjoyed chocolate, sometimes indulging in a kilogram (2.2 lb) per week. After the meal, she smoked a Dunhill cigarette and drank a small amount of port wine. In the afternoon, she would take a nap for two hours in her armchair. 

Genetic analysis of the HLA system revealed the presence of the DR1 allele, common among centenarians.

Analyses of her blood samples were in normal ranges between ages 111–114, with no signs of dehydration, anemia, chronic infection or renal impairment. Genetic analysis of the HLA system revealed the presence of the DR1 allele, common among centenarians. A cardiological assessment revealed a moderate left ventricular hypertrophy with a mild left atrial dilatation and extrasystolic arrhythmia. Radiology revealed diffuse osteoporosis, as well as incipient osteoarthritis in the right hip. An ultrasound exam showed no anomalies of internal organs. At this stage, Calment was still in good health, and continued to walk without a cane. She fell in January 1990 (aged 114) and fractured her femur, which required surgery. Subsequently, Calment used a wheelchair, and she abandoned her daily routine. During the last years, she was 137 cm (4 ft 6 in) tall, and weighed 40 kg (88 lb); she confirmed that she had always been small, and had lost weight in recent years. At the age of 118, she was submitted to repeated neurophysiological tests and a CT scan. The tests showed that her verbal memory and language fluency were comparable to those of persons with the same level of education in their eighties and nineties. Frontal brain lobe functions were relatively spared from deterioration, and there was no evidence of progressive neurological disease, depressive symptoms or other functional illness. Her cognitive functioning was observed to improve slightly over the six-month period. Calment reportedly remained "mentally sharp" until the end of her life. Calment died of unspecified causes on 4 August 1997 around 10 a.m.

Supercentenarians List

Ann Pouder

Ann Pouder (Ann Marie Alexander; April 8, 1807 – July 10, 1917) was one of the first modern recognized supercentenarians, living to an age of 110 years, 93 days. Born in London, she emigrated with her family to the United States at the age of 12, settling in Baltimore, Maryland, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She married Alexander Pouder, though she became a widow very early and had no children. Her extreme longevity claim was certified by Alexander Graham Bell. She was bedridden, blind, and almost deaf in her last few months, but her mind remained sharp.

Mary Bidwell

Mary Electa Bidwell (May 9, 1881 – April 25, 1996) was an American supercentenarian. She died aged 114 years and 352 days and is the oldest person on record ever to die in Connecticut.

Her parents were Charles Woodruff Bidwell and Alice Beach Nobel. She was a descendant of John Bidwell, one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut. Bidwell worked as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse for six years. She married Charles Hubbell Bidwell, a distant cousin, in 1906. Bidwell lived on her own in North Haven, Connecticut, until she was 110. Bidwell died at the Arden House, a nursing home in Hamden, Connecticut.

Maggie Barnes

Maggie Pauline Barnes (March 6, 1882 – January 19, 1998) was an American supercentenarian. She was born to a former slave and married a tenant farmer. Barnes died on January 19, 1998, in Johnston County, North Carolina, of gangrene. She was survived by four of her fifteen children.

Her exact year of birth has been disputed. Though the year 1882 is written in her family bible, the 1900 US Census records her birth year as 1881 and her marriage license claims that she was born in 1880. Authenticating to what was put in the family Bible, Barnes lived for 115 years and 319 days.

Adelina Domingues

Adelina Domingues (February 19, 1888 – August 21, 2002) was a Cape Verdean American supercentenarian who was the world's oldest person from the death of 114-year-old British-American woman Grace Clawson on May 28, 2002, to her death less than three months later.[39] Domingues was born in Cape Verde. Domingues's Italian father was a harbor pilot by profession, and her mother was Portuguese by ethnicity. She married a shipcaptain in 1907 and moved to the United States that year. Her husband died from cancer in 1950. Domingues was a missionary from the Church of the Nazarene in Cape Verde and other parts of Africa, and also a religious preacher when she lived in Massachusetts, as well as an expert seamstress.

Domingues was a firm believer in the American Dream, was deeply religious, had conservative political views, and was a pen pal of former President of the United States Ronald Reagan. She had four children, but only one of them (a son, Frank) reached adulthood. Frank died in 1998 at the age of 71, with Adelina outliving him by four years. Domingues died at a nursing home in the San Diego, California, area on August 21, 2002, at age 114 years and 183 days. She had claimed she was one year older, or 115 years old, but her family and Cape Verdean diplomats did some research and discovered her baptismal information, from which they concluded that Domingues was 114 years old when she died.

Charlotte Benkner

Charlotte Benkner (née Enterlein; November 16, 1889 – May 14, 2004) was an American supercentenarian and considered the world's oldest person from 2003 to 2004. Subsequent recognition of other supercentenarians ranked Benkner as the third oldest at the time of her death.

Benkner was born in Leipzig, Germany, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1896. She grew up in Peekskill, New York, where her family ran the Albert Hotel, and as a young woman once met then-U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. After her 1908 marriage to Karl Benkner, she moved west, living in Pennsylvania and Ohio, before retiring to Arizona. Already a supercentenarian and the oldest person in Arizona, Benkner returned to Ohio to live in North Lima with her sister Tillie O'Hare, her youngest sibling. Tillie died in January 2004, just three weeks shy of becoming a centenarian. Benkner survived her sister by only four months, and died at age 114 years and 180 days, after a brief hospital stay in Youngstown, Ohio.

Emma Verona Johnston

Emma Verona Johnston (née Calhoun; August 6, 1890 – December 1, 2004) was an American supercentenarian who was born in Indianola, Iowa, to a large family. She graduated from Drake University in the Class of 1912 and went on to work as a Latin teacher before she married ophthalmologist Harry Johnston; At the time of her death, she was the university's oldest living graduate.

At age 98, Johnston moved from Iowa to Ohio to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Even after turning 110, she continued to be in good health, alert, and engaging in conversations and was still able to walk up steps. She became the oldest known living American in May 2004. Three months later, on the occasion of her 114th birthday, she was presented with a proclamation signed by then-Drake University President David Maxwell. The university's Vice President for Institutional Advancement, John Willey, nominated her for an honorary degree. Johnston died in Worthington, Ohio, on December 1, 2004, at age 114 years and 117 days.

Bettie Wilson

Bettie Antry Wilson (née Rutherford; September 13, 1890 – February 13, 2006) was the oldest resident of Mississippi ever recorded and was considered the oldest living person in the United States from December 2004 until the subsequent verification of Elizabeth Bolden.[citation needed] Both were born in the rural South, where they lived less than 100 miles apart. Wilson was the daughter of freed slaves, Solomon and Delia Rutherford.

In April 2005, Wilson moved into a new home funded by donations, in New Albany. She celebrated her 115th birthday in September 2005 and died on February 13, 2006, aged 115 years, 153 days. She was survived by her son, five grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, 95 great-great-grandchildren and 38 great-great-great-grandchildren.

George Francis

George Rene Francis (June 6, 1896 – December 27, 2008) was an American supercentenarian and the joint second-oldest living man in the world, together with Englishman Henry Allingham, also born on June 6, 1896, until Francis's death aged 112 years and 204 days. He was also the oldest living man in the United States, following the death of then 111-year-old Antonio Pierro on February 8, 2007. Francis was from New Orleans, Louisiana, but after 1949 lived in Sacramento, California, where a local newspaper published a poem that Francis enjoyed reciting to friends and the public throughout his life. He credited his longevity to nature and enjoyed a rich diet of pork, eggs, milk, and lard. He gave up smoking cigars at the age of 75.

Francis attempted to join the army in World War I, but was rejected for service in 1918 as being too short and small (he weighed only about 100 pounds [45 kg]). Despite this, he later was a boxer before becoming a barber and then a chauffeur.

Bernice Madigan

Bernice Madigan (née Emerson; July 24, 1899 – January 3, 2015) was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and moved to Cheshire when she was six. In 1918, after graduating from Adams High School, she responded to government drives to recruit women into employment during WWI and moved to Washington, D.C. After the war, she worked as a secretary for the Department of the Treasury and the Veterans Administration. She married Paul Madigan (d. 1976) in 1925; they lived in the Washington, D.C., area and then in Silver Spring, Maryland. She retired in 1942, after which she volunteered with the church and at nursing homes, playing piano for residents. She returned to live with family in Massachusetts in 2007. She participated in Boston University School of Medicine's New England Centenarian Study and was interviewed and filmed by the Center for Aging at the University of Chicago and ABC World News. She is one of 100 centenarians in The Archon Genomics XPRIZE. She joined social media, with profiles on Facebook and Twitter. Madigan died in her sleep at the age of 115 years and 163 days at 2 a.m. on January 3, 2015. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living resident of Massachusetts, the fourth-oldest living person in the United States, and the world's fifth-oldest living person.

Evelyn Kozak

Eva Chavka Rivka "Evelyn" Kozak (née Jacobson) (August 14, 1899 – June 11, 2013) was an American Jewish supercentenarian, born in New York City to Isaac and Kate Jacobson, who fled from the Russian Empire, and the oldest verified Jewish person in history from November 6, 2012, 12 weeks after turning 113, when she broke fellow German-born American Adelheid Kirschbaum's record of 113 years and 83 days though until August 27, 2014, when fellow Russian-born American Goldie Steinberg (born October 30, 1900), who was the oldest living Jewish person after her death, broke her record.

Kozak died of a heart attack at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York City, early in the morning of Tuesday, June 11, 2013  - barely around a quarter of a day before the oldest living person, 116-year-old Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura (who died 2:08 a.m. the night of June 12 = 1:08 p.m. the afternoon of June 11 EDT). She survived two of her five children and had 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson.

Centenarians Common Chemistry

A new study has investigated what may be unique about people who live to be 100 years old and beyond. The study’s authors were looking for differences in body function prior to extreme old age that might expand our understanding of aging and longevity.

This makes it the first piece of research to compare blood biomarkers measured at earlier stages of life for people who eventually lived to be centenarians against others who did not.

Their findings indicate that centenarians, by and large, were likely to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine, and uric acid than other people.

The median differences between centenarians and others were small, and centenarians rarely had values at either the low or high end of the healthy ranges, tending to remain in the middle ranges of measurement.

The researchers also found that eventual centenarians had settled into a metabolic profile by age 65, 35 years before reaching the century mark.

The study is published in GeroScience.