The World’s Oldest Woman Dies At 115 Years Old

The world’s oldest person, 115-year-old Gertrude Baines, died peacefully in her sleep Friday morning. The saucy senior citizen was born in 1894 and grew up in Georgia. Her father was a slave and she lived through the height of segregation. She was married and divorced once, and had a daughter in 1909 who died of typhoid when she was 18 years old. Despite her difficult path, Gertrude wasn’t a curmudgeon. In fact, the caretakers at her nursing home describe her as sweet and sassy. Gertrude made the news last year when she voted for Barack Obama, and on her 115th birthday, she said she’d like to live another four years just to “vote for Barack again.” Before the last election, Gertrude had only voted once before, for John F. Kennedy. She told the LA Times that she supported Obama “because he’s for the coloured” and that she kept a signed picture of the prez on her wall. [Reuters] When asked what her secret for living a long life was, Gertrude answered, “Ask God.” But she admitted that she never “drank, smoked, or fooled around.” She deeply enjoyed extra crispy bacon, fried chicken, and ice cream, despite the fact that she refused dentures and instead “chewed” with her gums. [Post Chronicle]

Gertrude’s secret to dewy skin apparently involved washing her face with cold water. Her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt, thinks she probably suffered a heart attack since she was in good shape earlier that week. “I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine,” he said. “She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently.” [Times Leader]

Gertrude took the honor of world’s oldest person in January when the former holder, Maria de Jesus from Portugal, died. Now the oldest living person is 114-year-old Kama Chien from Japan. Gertrude enjoyed her life immensely but wasn’t stressed about maintaining her title. “I’m glad I’m here,” she said. “I don’t care if I live a hundred more. … I enjoy nothing but eating and sleeping.” A woman after our own hearts. [Daily Gleaner]