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Record Breakers

Published: 4/27/2012

William Lawlis Pace (Modesto Bee)When we read about the death of William Lawlis Pace, we were intrigued by his story. He was a Guinness World Record holder… and his was a very unusual distinction. Pace lived with a bullet in his head for 94 years and six months – longer than anyone else in history.

When Pace was accidentally shot by his brother as a young boy, he probably never thought the injury would bring him fame. He was likely just glad to emerge alive – though with ordnance in his skull, thanks to the bullet's tricky landing place, which made surgeons unable to operate. But alive he was, and so he stayed for almost a century more, dying this week at an impressive 103 years old.

Some Guinness notables seek out their records, and others, like Pace, have records thrust upon them. Pace's remarkable story made us wonder what other Guinness World Record holders could be found in our obituary database. Here are a few that caught our eyes:

Abie Abraham earned a Guinness World Record for tree sitting in Alameda Park, though his obituary doesn't specify just how long he sat in that tree.

Kathleen Armold satisfied a lot of empty stomachs when she set the record for the World's Largest Take Out Order as documented by the Guinness Book of World Records and the Wall Street Journal by ordering 9,999 White Castle hamburgers and one cheeseburger as part of a town celebration.

Jackson Bailey held the record for the world's largest religious painting, a panorama spanning three football fields called "The Life of Christ." "I didn't set out to make it the biggest painting," Mr. Bailey explained. "I just needed the space to tell the story."

Richard "Grizzly" Brown, with a career as a weightlifter and strongman, held a place in the Guinness World Book of Records for the largest biceps, over 25 inches (cold, not pumped).

Gilbert Daughtridge held a delicious world record: he grew the world's largest cantaloupe.

Louis Feola, like William Pace, didn't plan for his Guinness World Record. He was born that way: he was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only human being born without an appendix.

Larry Harr knew how to have a record-breaking good time: he held the Guinness World Record for the Longest Continuous Karaoke Party.

Joseph Lazarow wasn't just a record holder; the way he set his record was particularly spectacular. He set a new world handshaking record in 1977 on a crowded boardwalk… and he dethroned the previous record holder, President Theodore Roosevelt.

Martha Richard had to suffer for her record, much like William Pace: she was noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only one to be bitten by a tropical butterfly.

Walter Stiglitz, owner of a tattoo parlor, had a record-setting 5,555 tattoos.

Written by Linnea Crowther

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