Oldest Person in US: A No-Nonsense 113-Year-Old Named Adele

Even Adele Dunlap's 86-year-old son doesn't know her longevity secret
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2016 12:21 PM CDT
Oldest Person in US: A No-Nonsense 113-Year-Old Named Adele
In this July 19, 2016, photo, Adele Dunlap, 113, talks with Susan Dempster, the activities director at Country Arch Care Center in Pittstown, NJ.   (Chris Pedota/The Record of Bergen County via AP)

A 113-year-old New Jersey woman is the new holder of the title of oldest American, the AP reports. Adele Dunlap became the country's oldest person earlier this month following the death of Goldie Michelson of Worcester, Mass., per the Record. She's also the 10th oldest person in the world, according to the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which tracks supercentenarians (people 110 or older). Dunlap lives at the Country Arch Care Center in Pittstown, where she first arrived just shy of her 100th birthday. Asked how it feels to be the oldest American, she tells the newspaper, "I don't feel any different." Asked what it means to be an American, she says, "Well, I've never been anything else."

Dunlap taught school before marrying and settling down to raise the couple's three children. Her husband worked for an insurance company and died in 1963. She doesn't give an explanation for her longevity, and her 86-year-old son, Earl, is also at a loss to credit any particular thing for his mother's long life. "It's hard to say," he says. "She never went out jogging or anything like that. She's not really thin, but she never weighed more than 140 pounds. She smoked, and when my father had his first heart attack, they both stopped. I think she ate anything she wanted." Despite the fact she was born Dec. 12, 1902, in Newark, she often gives a younger age when asked how old she is. "Last year, when we were telling her it was her 113th birthday, she said, 'No, no, no, I'm only 102,'" recalls Susan Dempster, the care center's activities director. Dempster says Dunlap is a passive participant in daily activities and socializes minimally, but she looks forward to when the Girl Scouts come to sing Christmas carols. (An Italian woman is the world's oldest person at 116.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.