Oldest American Dies at 115

Thelma Sutcliffe was born in Nebraska
By Stephanie Mojica,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2022 11:20 AM CST
Oldest American Dies at 115
Thelma Sutcliffe is shown with a birthday cake in October 2019, in Omaha, Neb. Sutcliffe, the oldest person in the United States, died on Friday at 115.   (Mike Kelly/The World-Herald via AP)

(Newser) – Less than a year after becoming the oldest living person in the United States, centenarian Thelma Sutcliffe has died, NBC News reports. She was 115 and believed to be the fifth-oldest living person in the world. Born and raised in Nebraska, she became the oldest living person in the United States on April 17. Sutcliffe was in hospice care when she died on Monday. Longtime friend Louella “Lou” Mason told the Omaha World-Herald that Sutcliffe’s end was very peaceful. “It was just time,” Mason said in her interview with the newspaper.

Without a lot of fanfare, Sutcliffe celebrated her 115th birthday on October 1 at the Brighton Gardens senior living center in Omaha. Widowed since the early 1970s, Sutcliffe battled cancer twice. She was not interested in the publicity that came with being one of the oldest living people in the world, but always made sure she looked her best in any photos taken of her, Mason said. Sutcliffe’s secret to a long life was refusing to worry about things she could not control. The oldest living American, who resides in Spain, is now 114-year-old Maria Branyas Morera. She was born in California on March 4, 1907. However, it is unclear whether Morera kept her American citizenship. (Read more centenarians stories.)

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