Women Supercentenarian Photos File No. 4 of 15

November 13, 2003; Mr. Robert Young has just sent us the following photos...
Mrs. Charlotte Benkner Charlotte ( R), age 18
Following the death of Mitoyo Kawate of Japan, at age 114, Mrs. Charlotte (Enterlein) Benkner now herself 114, is currently, to our knowledge, the oldest person in the world. She was born on November16, 1889 in Leipzig, GERMANY. Charlotte Enterlein later came to the US in 1896. She subsequently married fellow German immigrant and steelworker Karl Benkner [1883 - 1965] in 1908, leading to more than 56 years of marriage, but she never had any children of her own. For a time she retired to Tucson, AZ, but returned to Ohio shortly after her 110th birthday. She remains active, writing letters to friends and politicians. Charlotte has voted in every presidential election since women won the right to vote in 1920. She currently lives in North Lima, Ohio, a southern suburb of Youngstown, nowhere near Lima, OH, but 203 miles to the East. Her 98-year-old younger sister, Tillie O-Hare, died on January 25, 2004 at age 99.

We have just learned that Mrs. Benkner died on Friday, May 14th at age 114 years, 180 days. Click for her Obituary in The Los Angeles Times.

May 24, 2002; Mr. Robert Young has just received these photos of
Mrs. Ito Konno Kinase Mrs. Ito Konno Kinase
Mrs. Ito Konno (Tsurumaki) Kinase, taken on the occasion of her 112th birthday party on December 31, 2001.
November 9, 2002; Two more photos provided by Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium are as follows:
Mrs. Ito Konno Kinase Mrs. Ito Konno Kinase
We have just learned that Mrs. Kinase born December 31, 1889 died on January 24, 2003 at 113 years, 24 days.

July 14, 2002; Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium has sent us (by way of Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, GA) this photo of
Msr. Yasu Akino
Mrs. Yasu Akino who was born in Japan on March 1, 1885 and died on February 12, 1999 at the age of 113 years, 348 days just 17 days shy of her 114th birthday. Yasu was the oldest person in Japan from November 18, 1998 until her death on February 12, 1999. She spent the last years of her life bedridden after she suffered a fall.

August 5, 2002; Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium has sent us (by way of Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, GA) this photo of
Mrs. Hanna Eriksson
Mrs. Hanna Eriksson, who was born on February 26, 1891 and died on June 26, 2001. Mr. Young reports that she set a record by being the oldest Swedish person who never held the rank of "Number 1." Mrs. Elsa Moberg (who died on November 20, 2001,at age 112 years, 143 days) was almost two years older at the time.

October 31, 2003; Mr. Louis Epstein of New York has sent us this photo from the Chugoku newspaper in Hiroshima, Japan of
Mrs. Mitoyo Kawate Mrs. Mitoyo Kawate from AP
Mrs. Mitoyo Kawate born on May 15, 1889 and now 114 years old. She has just been confirmed by The Guinness Book of World Records to be the Oldest Person in the World following the death of Kamato Hongo this morning.
[ Editor's Note: Can any of our readers who reads Japanese tell us what these captions actually say?]

November 13, 2003; We have just been informed that Mrs. Kawate died overnight at the age of 114 years, 182 days, of pneumonia less than two weeks after taking over the title from her countrywoman Kamato Hongo. Click for her Obituary from the BBC. The title now shifts to the US, as Mrs. Charlotte Benkner, of North Lima, Ohio, has now been designated the oldest living person in the world and is expected to turn 114 next Sunday.

Sister Augustein "Julia" Teissier [1869 -- 1981]

September 1, 2002; Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium sent us this picture of
Sister Augustine Teissier
Sister Augustine Teissier by way of Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, GA, who explained that she was also known as "Sister Julia," born January 2, 1869 and died March 8, 1981 at the age of 112 years, 65 days. She held the French record until passed by Eugénie Roux in 1986 (112 years, 147 days). Also of note, she may have been the world's oldest person from January 1981 to March 1981 (provided that we don't count the now-disputed Shigechiyo Izumi case from JAPAN).

September 24, 2002; Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium has just sent us this picture of
Maria Ludovica Van Sprengel
Maria Ludovica Van Sprengel (also known as Sister Alberta), who was born on January 30, 1882. She was the oldest living Belgian (Flemish) person ever until her death on April 22, 1993 at age 111 years, 82 days. Meanwhile, her Belgian record was broken by Mrs. Joanna "Woinke" Turcksin-Deroover, who was born on June 3, 1890 and died on December 6, 2002 at the age of 112 years, 186 days."

October 3, 2002; Mr Bart Versieck of Belgium has sent us by way of Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia this picture of
Cleo Cranney Hinckley
Mrs. Cleo Cranney Hinckley of Utah. She was born October 13, 1890 and died on September 30, 2002, just two weeks short of her 112th birthday, at age 111 years, 352 days.

October 4, 2002; Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, GA has sent us this photo of
Aurelia Marotta
Mrs. Aurelia Marotta, of Boston, MA. She was born on June 27, 1890 and is now 113 years old.

October 4, 2003; Norma D. Marotta Walsh, her Granddaughter, just informed us that her Grandmother, the oldest person in Massachusetts, died this morning at age 113 years, 99 days. Her Obituary can be found on the Internet as it was published in the Boston Globe newspaper.
We should acknowledge that, contrary to the presumption stated in the article, Mrs. Marotta was only the third oldest and not the second-oldest American at the time of her death. Mrs. Charlotte Benkner of Ohio was, in fact, the second oldest American at this time. On October 7th, we alerted the Boston office of The Associated Press about this error, and it is hoped that this will prevent a proliferation of this mistake in other newspapers throughout the country.

November 29, 2002; Mr Bart Versieck of Belgium has sent us by way of Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia this picture of
Martha Pellow
Martha Pellow. She was born May 18, 1889 and died on June 2, 2000 in Wisconsin at the age of 111 years, 15 days, believed to be the oldest nun in the United States at the time of her death.

Incidentally, the oldest nun in Belgium was Maria Ludovica Van Sprengel, alias Sister Alberta, who was born January 30, 1882 and died April 22, 1993 at 111 years, 82 days (see her picture). However, the world record for the oldest nun may be Sister Augustine Tessier of France, also known as Sister Julia, born January 2, 1869 and died March 8, 1981 at 112 years, 65 days (see picture above).

December 13, 2002; Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia has sent us this photo of
Cleo Craig Cleo Craig at 113

Mrs. Cleo Craig who was born on February 12, 1890 in Illinois and is the oldest living Chicago Cubs (baseball) fan. She was an ADULT when they last won the World Series 94 years ago in 1908! Her Grandson, Craig Bosi, sent us the second photo taken on the occasion of her 113th birthday.

June 28, 2003; Mrs. Craig died today at age 113 years, 136 days.

December 14, 2002; Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia has just sent us this photo of
Emma Louis Taylor
Mrs. Emma Louise Taylor, who was born on September 15, 1891 in Park City, Montana and now lives in Bakersfield, CA. Incidentally, she happens to be one day older than Quebec's Julie Winnefred Bertrand.

June 24, 2003; Mrs. Taylor died today at age 111 years, 282 days.

January 31, 2003; Mr. Bart Versieck of Belgium has just sent us this photo of
Susie Gibson, age 112 Susie Gibson, age 113 Susie Gibson, age 114 with Robert Young
Mrs. Susie Elisabeth (Potts) Gibson, age 113. She was born in Mississippi on October 31, 1890 and now lives in Alabama. The second photo was sent by Ms. Danette Clifton by way of Cooperative Farming News.
The third photo was taken at 114 in November 2004. The gentlemen on the right is our Senior Claims Investigator, Mr. Robert Young, of Atlanta, GA.

February 16, 2006; We are sad to report that Mrs. Gibson died today at age 115 years, 108 days.

February 3, 2003; Mr. Louis Epstein of New York has just sent us this photo of
Emma Stark, age 110

Mrs. Emma (Headland) Stark taken on January 1, 2003 on the occasion of her 110th birthday party with her Great, Great Grandchildren: Nichole Marie (Left), Danielle (Center), and Gary (Right).

We have now learned that Mrs. Emma Stark died on June 1, 2003 at 110 years, 151 days.

February 25, 2003; Mr. David Spicer and Ms. Carolyn Horton have provided us with this photograph of
Maebelle Plant, age 110
Mrs. (Eleanor) Maebelle (nee Barnes later Gallops) Plant of Pace, Florida, who was born on February 25, 1893 and has just now turned 110 years old. Unlike most of our other cases, her age was verified months ago, but we held off listing her, hoping that she would make it to her 110th birthday. And apparently she has. Born in Alabama, she moved to Florida at a young age. She married in 1912; her eldest son would be 90-years-old, if he is still alive today, and she does have an 88-year-old daughter. She is one of a dwindling number of living "white sharecroppers," a job more often reserved for blacks but one that history has forgotten was a system for poor white farmers as well.

"Florida's Oldest Resident, Eleanor Maebelle Barnes Gallops Plant, Has Died at 111"

October 21, 2004; Pensacola, FL ( AP) -- Known as "Granny Plant," she was listed as the oldest person in Florida, ninth in the United States and 23rd in the world by the Gerontology Research Group based in Los Angeles. Plant died Tuesday at her home in Pea Ridge, an unincorporated Florida Panhandle community nestled between Milton and Pace about 10 miles northeast of Pensacola.

She arrived in Santa Rosa County by covered wagon in 1911 with her parents and 10 siblings from Brantley, AL. "There is no particular secret to long life, but treating people right, working hard, staying active, living right and loving the Lord doesn't hurt," Plant said in an interview on her 109th birthday. She outlived two husbands, all her siblings and six of her nine children. Plant is survived by about 150 descendants spanning five generations. She survived colon cancer without chemotherapy or radiation and was cancer-free for 25 years.

Plant lived in Pea Ridge most of her adult life and was known for voting in every election since women were given that right in 1920. "She was a treasure we were proud to have in our community," said U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla. "At 111, you've got to think of all the changes she saw in her lifetime. All of the things we take for granted today weren't even thought of when she was born."

March 24, 2003; Ms. Laurel Schaefer, her Grand Daughter, has provided us with this photograph of
Mary Crombie, age 112
Mrs. Mary Belle (Murphy) Whiffen Crombie was born in Illinois on July 6, 1890 and died on September 22, 2003 at age of 113 years, 78 days. She was the oldest twin on record though not the oldest pair, because her twin-sister Mabel died at 94.

March 27, 2003; Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia has provided us, by way of Mr. Gianni Alunni of Italy, this photograph of
Teresa Fumarola, age 113 Signora Maria Teresa Fumerola Signora Maria Teresa Fumerola
Mrs. Maria Teresa Fumarola-Ligorio, taken on the occasion of her 113th birthday. She was born on December 2, 1889 and at age 113 is currently the oldest person in Europe.

May 14, 2003; According to a report from one of her Great Grandchildren, Maria Teresa Fumarola died today at the age of 113 years, 163 days. The second and third pictures were sent by Andrea Maggiore, who sent us the newspaper clipping in Italian.

August 12, 2004; Mr. Robert Young of Atlanta, Georgia has sent us these photographs of Mary Ellen Swan.
MSwan, age 110 Mary Ellen Swan, age 112
Despite her being in "great shape" (she could walk, dance, and carry on a conversation at her 112th birthday party), she passed away suddenly at age 112 years, 47 days. She was born in the UK on June 24, 1892 and died in Ontario, CANADA. Canada's oldest person at this time, Sister Anne Samson died on November 29, 2004 at age113 years, 276 days.

April 1, 2003; Mr. Ray Allen, her Grandson, has sent us this photograph of
Mrs. Elena Slough and Family Mrs. Elena Slough, April 2003

Mrs. Elena (or Elana)(Rodenbaugh) Proctor Slough, age 113 years, who was born on July 8, 1889 in Pennsylvania, but currently resides in Cape May, New Jersey. The first photo was taken in June 2002 with her Grandson, Ray (R), and her Great Grandson, Wyatt (L), while the second photo was taken in April 2003.

We should mention that her family believes that Elena's true birthday is on July 4th, not July 8th, despite Social Security and Census Records from 1900 and 1920 that confirm the date of July 8th. [See below.] Mr. Robert Young, our GRG Senior Claims Investigator from Atlanta, Georgia, explains that a demographer/epidemiologist must sometimes function like a detective (Sherlock Holmes) to attempt to put all the jig-saw puzzle pieces together...

While some records suggest Elena's was born in 1888 (such as a 1945 Birth Affidavit), the 1900 Census, taken in June, lists her as 10 years old and born in July 1889. The 1920 Census, taken in January, lists her as 30 years old (no birthdate given) which suggests she was born in 1889. The 1910 and 1930 censuses list her as 21 and 41, respectively. Because neither list a birth month (like the 1900 Census), these could be taken to mean she was born in 1888 (technically) or 1889 (age rounded --- 1910 minus 21 equals 1889). Without a Birth Certificate or early church record, Elena's true birth year --- 1888 or 1889 --- remains a mystery. [Even her name is spelled differently, "Elena" in some sources and "Elena" in others.] There is no doubt, however, that she is at least 114 years old, and hence currently the oldest living American whose age can be verified. Grandson Ray Allen said that Elena once said that she was "really born in 1889," but other family members believe 1888 is correct. For these reasons, The Gerontology Research Group has determined that her verifiable Birth Date is July 8, 1889, or the latest date of the records discrepancies, and thus 100 percent provable.

A claim to be born in 1888 has the additional the problem of her older brother Sylvester who is listed in the 1900 Census as born in September 1887. This would make a pregnancy and birth in July 1888 possible, but very close together. One hypothesis is that Sylvester was really born in 1886 and that the 1900 record also got his age wrong. On the other hand, no Birth Certificate has been produced for him either. Thus, to assume that three errors were made (1900 listings for Elena and Sylvester, and the 1920 listing for Elena) without documentary proof would be beyond the purview of our validated cases. Consequently, while there is a possibility that she could be 115 years old, we can only prove at this point that she is no less than 114 years old. --- Robert Young

October 5, 2003; We have just learned from an Associated Press reporter in Trenton, NJ that Mrs. Slough passed away early this morning at age 114 years, 89 days. Her Obituary appears in The Los Angeles Times as well as many other major newspapers throughout the country.

Update: January 12, 2011; As stated in one of the paragraphs above, "We should mention that her family believes that Elena's true birthday is on July 4th, not July 8th, despite Social Security and Census Records from 1900 and 1920 that confirm the date of July 8th." The July 8th date was an error by a reporter; in fact, the family was correct. The SSDI listed her as born July 4th. To explain, we should mention that US Census records don't record birth dates, only ages and possibly a month. - Robert Young

April 7, 2003; Stephen Coles of Los Angeles took these photographs this morning of
Mrs. Elma Corning, age 111 Mrs. Elma Corning and her
son, Russell
Mrs. Elma Grace (Tennis) Corning, age 111, who was born in Iowa on February 22, 1892 but has lived in Los Angeles since 1921. She now resides at the Kingsley Manor Nursing Home near Hollywood. She had one brother, 2-years younger, who died at age 70. Her Mother, Jessie, died at age 87, while her Father Addison, who was a farmer and a pilot during World War I, died at age 48 of severe arthritis. She was married, and her husband, who was in the Navy in San Diego in 1918 during World War I, worked in Los Angeles as a linotype operator. He died in 1956. They had just one son, Russell, who married for the first time to his wife Mandel when he was 53 and she was 52, so they have no children of their own.
After graduation from college in 1912, Elma taught Home Economics in a local high school. Once she moved to Los Angeles, she worked as a house keeper and for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Assistance. She is relaxed, easy going, and doesn't worry much. "I'm too busy to do exercises," she said. She never smoked or drank much, but she really enjoys bacon and coffee, and pie or cake for desert. She played the organ for the Presbyterian Church in Ohio when she was 16. She served as an Officer in the Congregational Church since 1935 and was President of their Woman's Association. Her secret to a long life is "to work hard and have a great desire to accomplish something."
Her son, Russell of San Rafael, California (North of San Francisco), who is now 78, provided us
Miss Elma Tennis at age 17
with this Oskaloosa High School Year-Book Cast Photo of Elma in her school play Mrs. Temple's Telegram performed in the year 1910 when she was 17 years old. She is on the far left.

We are sad to report that Mrs. Elma Corning passed away on July 12, 2004 at age 112 years, 141 days.

May 4, 2003; This afternoon, on the occasion of her 110th birthday, Stephen Coles of Los Angeles took these photographs of
Mrs. Mollie Beard, age 110 Mrs. Mollie Beard and
her daughter
Mrs. Mollie Saxon Beard, born May 4, 1893. ( Editor's Note: The family had believed for some time that Mollie was born on May 4, 1892; but the 1900 US Census says 1893 and the 1910 Census confirms this date). Mollie's only surviving daughter, Ms. Eunice Brandon, is now 88 years old, formerly of Hollywood, FL, but now lives with her Mother in West Los Angeles, since Eunice is legally blind. Remarkably, Mrs. Beard owns her own home and doesn't reside in a nursing home, as many Supercentenarians do. But she now has a full-time housekeeper.
Mollie was born on a plantation in Millen, Georgia (Screven County), at a time when sharecropping was still an accepted way of life, and she was mainly raised by two blacks who were considered to be a part of her family (Aunt Ellen and Uncle Tom). When she was five years old, she had to get up before dawn to hold the lantern and the buckets, while others milked their 14 cows by hand. Her own mother had 11 children (Mollie, another girl, and 9 boys). She married Mr. Frank Beard and had five children of her own (3 daughters and 2 sons). Although her husband passed away in 1928 (murdered/shot), she never remarried.
She attributes her longevity to hard work. Indeed, she worked all her life: First in the kitchen on the farm, then in factories during WW I and II making bullets. Later, she owned a restaurant for many years in Santa Monica. "I didn't do the cooking; I hired cooks for that," she corrected me.
However, her life style would certainly not be considered a model for living a healthy long life. First of all, she eats whatever she wants, and her favorite food is fried chicken! Furthermore, she drinks a shot of vodka every day and sometimes more. She smokes quite a bit (2 or more cigarettes a day)("Sometimes," she said, "If I'm nervous, I could finish off a half a carton of cigarettes in one day."). There is even a photo of her on her 110th birthday smoking a cigarette! She drinks both coffee and tea. Moreover, she doesn't exercise on a regular basis. Finally, she believes in God, but doesn't go to church. "I'm too busy!" she commented.
When I gently reprimanded her that, as a doctor, I couldn't approve of her smoking, she replied briskly, "Well, what are you going to do about it?," and over a dozen people in the room laughed heartily. Since she has always been in such good health, she has outlived many of her old doctors.

September 3, 2003; We have been informed by her niece, Mrs. Alma Warner, that Mrs. Beard died peacefully in her sleep at 7:00 AM this morning at age 110 years, 122 days. Click for her Obituary published in The Los Angeles Times, p. B20, on Saturday, September 6, 2003.

Here ends the 4th file containing Photos of Women Supercentenarians.
Click to continue to File No. 5 of 15 for 2003-2007.