You may be wondering…did this centenarian make it to 108 years? According to her obituary, she “went home to be with the Lord” nearly four months later, on February 10, 2021. She went peacefully while surrounded by her family in her home.
Who Was This 107-Year-Old Woman?
Elestine Evelyn Lawson’s obituary gives us some background on her life and how she came to be the 107-year-old woman read about across the world. She was born in the town of Macon in Georgia in 1913 and moved to Columbus when she was just 10 years old. Elestine married Isiah Lawson and together the two had one son, Nathan Lawson, who passed away ahead of her. She had four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and even four great-great grandchildren! Elestine even had lifelong friends who she considered to be part of her extended family.
This 107-year-old woman was dedicated to her faith; she was a member of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio for 97 years! Elestine’s favorite things to do were to spend time with family, reminiscing about living as a young child in Georgia, and traveling.
According to her family, her legacy was that “you should honor God, respect your elders, and live life to the fullest.”
What About Other Centenarians?
Although Elestine’s age is quite impressive, she did not break the record. On Friday, October 1, 2021, Thelma Sutcliffe of Omaha, Nebraska celebrated her 115th birthday. As of today, she is the oldest living American.
This centenarian received a birthday message from her City Councilman Pete Festersen.
Happy 115th Birthday to Thelma Sutcliffe! This distinguished resident of city council district one is now officially the oldest living person in America.
— Pete Festersen (@PeteFestersen) October 1, 2021
Although Thelma had quite the birthday celebration with her local new station when she turned 109, for her 115th birthday, she wanted to have a quiet celebration.
Centenarians, however far they live past the age of 100, are of interest to gerontologists. These scientists study characteristics of these individuals, in order to determine the reason for their longevity. And it looks as if Elestine may be on to something with her citing faith and love as what prolonged her life. According to Thomas Theodore Samaras, family connectedness, positive attitude toward life, and avoidance of worry are contributing factors.
According to statista.com, the number of centenarians is expected to continue to go up. One info graph from 2016 says that while there was 82 living centenarians in 2016, the expected number of people to live to 100 or older is expected to be 589 in 2060. The number in 2020 was said to be 93, and I must note that my grandmother, Betty Sausto was one of them! “Guc” (as we called her) turned 100 on May 29, 2020. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our family had planned to gather in Sarasota, Florida to celebrate on her 100th birthday, but we had to cancel. She passed when she was nearly 101 years old.
Here’s to “Guc” and all the centenarians out there, past and present: praise the Lord, as Elestine, the 107-year-old woman would say!