Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Edna Parker, the world’s oldest person, dies at 115

AP , SHELBYVILLE, INDIANA

A handout image made and released on Aug. 16 last year by the Heritage House Convalescent Center in Shelbyville, Indiana, shows the world’s oldest person, Edna Parker, and her great great grandson.

PHOTO: EPA

Edna Parker, who became the world’s oldest person more than a year ago, has died at age 115.

UCLA gerontologist Stephen Coles said Parker’s great-nephew notified him that Parker died on Wednesday at a nursing home in Shelbyville, Indiana. She was 115 years, 220 days old, said Robert Young, a senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records.

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

Coles maintains a list of the world’s oldest people and said Parker was the 14th oldest validated supercentenarian in history.

Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born Sept. 10, 1893, is now the world’s oldest living person, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Parker had been a widow since her husband, Earl Parker, died in 1939 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.

Although she never drank alcohol or tried tobacco and led an active life, Parker didn’t offer tips for living a long life. Her only advice to those who gathered to celebrate when she became the oldest person was “more education.”

Parker outlived her two sons, Clifford and Earl Jr. She also had five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

Don Parker, 60, said his grandmother had a small frame and a mild temperament. She walked a lot and kept busy even after moving into the nursing home, he said.

“She kept active,” he said on Thursday. “We used to go up there, and she would be pushing other patients in their wheelchairs.”

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels celebrated with Parker on her 114th birthday.

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