114-year-old Texas woman becomes oldest living American

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(KTXL) — Following the death of 116-year-old Edith “Edie” Ceccarelli in Northern California, a 114-year-old woman in Texas has become the oldest living American.

Houston resident Elizabeth Francis is now the country’s oldest documented living person at 114 years, 7 months and 2 days old as of February 27, according to the Gerontology Research Group. 

In the Gerontology Research Group’s rankings, Francis is the fifth oldest living person in the world, surpassed by Juan Vicente Perez Mora (Venezuela, 114), Inah Canabarro Lucas (Brazil, 115), Tomiko Itooka (Japan, 115), and Maria Branyas Moera (Spain, 116). Branyas was born several months before Ceccarelli.

Ceccarelli, who lived in California her entire life, died on Feb. 22 — 17 days after her 116th birthday. In her last years, Ceccarelli resided in Willits, California, where she was born and raised. Her birthday celebrations became an annual tradition in the small town in Mendocino County. 

A look into Francis’ life

Francis was born in Louisiana on July 25, 1909, according to LongeviQuest, an organization that tracks human longevity.

After her mother died in 1920, Francis and her five siblings were sent to different homes. She ended up in Houston, where she was raised by her aunt. 

She has one daughter, Dorothy Williams, 94, who she shares a home with. Francis moved in with her daughter in 1999. 

The 114-year-old also has three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Francis is currently is cared for by one of her granddaughters.

Longevity runs in her family, as her sister Bertha Johnson lived to the age of 106 before passing away in 2011. Francis and Johnson are among the pair of siblings with the oldest combined age in world history, according to LongeviQuest.

At her 114th birthday celebration in July 2023, Francis was presented with a plaque honoring her status as the oldest living Texan.

“Ms. Elizabeth Francis is admired around the world, both for her longevity and her approach to life,” LongeviQuest chief executive Ben Meyers said after her 114th birthday. “Reaching this milestone was never an aspiration for her, merely a byproduct of how she lived her life every day, doing right by her loved ones and by God. We can all learn from her example.”

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