Notable Deaths ›

Susannah Mushatt Jones (1899 - 2016)

Getty Images / New York Daily News / Contributor

Susannah Mushatt Jones (1899 - 2016)

Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest person, died May 12. She was 116 years and 311 days old, the last American born in the 19th century.

Born July 6, 1899, in Lowndes County, Alabama, Jones was the granddaughter of slaves. She dreamed of becoming a teacher, but couldn't afford tuition to the Tuskegee Institute and instead moved to New York, New York, and worked in child care.

Jones was briefly married, from 1928 to 1933, but had no children. However, she had more than 100 nieces and nephews.

When Time magazine asked her secret for longevity, Jones just offered, "Believe in the Lord." Some attribute her long life to clean living: she never smoked or drank alcohol. But she ate four strips of bacon for breakfast every morning, along with scrambled eggs, grits, and a multivitamin.


Related: Secrets to Long Life from the World's Oldest People


Jones founded the Calhoun Club, a scholarship fund for students at the high school she attended, the Calhoun Boarding High School.

In 2012, U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York paid tribute to Jones several days after her 113th birthday.

“Lovingly called ‘Miss Susie,’ she is a symbol of longevity and commitment to family for all New Yorkers and our nation,” Towns told his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This milestone gives all of us hope that people can truly live a long prosperous life,” he said.

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Upon Jones' death, Emma Morano of Italy is the world's oldest person, and the last remaining person born in the 1800s.