Delina Filkins at the age of 109.
|Birth:||4 May 1815|
Stark, New York, USA
|Death:||4 December 1928|
|Age:||113 years, 214 days|
Filkins was born in a farmhouse in Stark, Herkimer County, New York on 4 May 1815. Her father was William Ecker. Both parents were of Dutch ancestry. Longevity was prevalent in her family, with her father living to be 97 and her mother to 78.
In 1826, Filkins quit school to work at home. In 1834, she married John Filkins, with whom she had six children. They ran a cheese-making business. John died in 1890.
On Filkins' 101st birthday, her eyesight and hearing were good. When she was 107 years old, she underwent an operation. On her 111th birthday, it was revealed that Filkins woke up every morning around 5:30 am, made her own bed, did other household chores, and read books. It was also mentioned that she used glasses to read,and that her hearing was worse than before. She claimed she didn’t have any secrets to her longevity.
Filkins' age led to her fame. Numerous newspaper articles, especially from 1925 to 1928, are in existence. Courted by both US candidates for President in the 1928 election, Delina became the oldest voter on record then, voting at age 113 in November 1928 (her record wasn't broken until 2008, when Gertrude Baines voted at age 114).
Towards the very end of her life, Filkins' health declined and she initially refused to become bedridden. She eventually was convinced to lie down. Filkins died on 4 December 1928, at the age of 113 years, 214 days.
Filkins was the oldest living person in the world, as well as the oldest person to have ever lived, at the time of her death. She was the fifth validated supercentenarian in history, the second validated person to reach the age of 111, and the first validated person to reach the ages of 112 and 113.
Filkins became the oldest validated person ever when she tied the age of Louisa Thiers on 19 September 1926, and held the title until her own age was surpassed by Fannie Thomas on 15 November 1980. Her record stood for over 54 years, which is also a record for the longest time the "oldest person ever" title has been held.
- Gerontology Research Group
- Syracuse Herald, May 4, 1916
- The Evening Independent, May 4, 1926
- Syracuse Herald, May 4, 1928
- 1928 obituary