27 November 2008

RIP: Edna Parker

Edna Scott Parker
20 April 1893 – 26 November 2008

The oldest person in the world has died. ZUI this article from the Chicago Tribune:
Edna Parker, who once taught in a two-room schoolhouse and became the world's oldest person more than a year ago, has died at age 115.

UCLA gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles said Parker's great nephew notified him that Parker passed away Wednesday at a nursing home in Shelbyville. She was 115 years, 120 days old.

Parker was born April 20, 1893 in central Indiana's Morgan County and had been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest person since the Aug. 14, 2007, death in Japan of Yone Minagawa, who was four months her senior.


Parker had been a widow since her husband, Earl, died in 1938 of a heart attack. She lived alone in their farmhouse until age 100, when she moved into a son's home and later to the Shelbyville nursing home.


Parker taught in a two-room school in the Shelby County town of Smithland for several years until she wed her childhood sweetheart and next-door neighbor, Earl Parker, in 1911. The same year, she graduated from Franklin College with a teaching certificate.

But as was the tradition of that era, her teaching career ended with her marriage. Parker traded the schoolhouse for life as a farmer's wife, preparing meals for as many as a dozen men who worked on her husband's farm.

Parker recalled last year that her chores included helping maintain the family's barn and butchering chickens for Sunday post-church supper. She noted with pride that she and her husband were one of the first owners of an automobile in their rural area.

She is the third supercentenarian listed by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) to die since the death of Delfino Borroni on 26 October. The other two were Viola Koch of California (24 May 1897-11 Nov 2008) and Abeline Spiehs of Nebraska (4 Sept 1898-24 Nov 2008).

The GRG's list of validated living supercentenarians (people who have reached their 110th birthday) currently includes 88 people (10 men and 78 women), ranging from Maria de Jesus of Portugal (born 10 Sep 1893) to Annie Turnbull of Scotland (born 21 Sep 1898). According to the GRG, the oldest person in the US is now Gertrude Baines of California (born 6 Apr 1894), the world's second-oldest person.

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