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Gerontology Wiki
Helen Self
Helen Self
Self on her 110th birthday
Birth: 17 August 1909
Hamilton, Montana, United States
Death: 29 July 2021
Missoula, Montana, United States
Age: 111 years, 346 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Helen Self (née Chesnutt; (7 August 1909 – 29 July 2021) was an American supercentenarian who was the oldest known person living in the U.S. state of Montana. Her age is currently unvalidated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).


Self was born in Hamilton, Montana, United States, on 17 August 1909. Her parents were Walter L. Chesnutt (1855–1933) and Susan Alvina Campbell Chesnutt (1869–1949). Self was the youngest of nine siblings. The oldest seven children died in their 60s and 70s. Her father came from North Carolina with nine children and took a ranch up in Hamilton. She came to Missoula as a teenager to work as the first female nurse's aide at the Northern Pacific Hospital. Later employers included Eddy's Bakery, the Press Radio Club, and, during World War II, an aircraft parts factory in Bremerton, Washington.

Self married three times. Her first husband was Bernard Reesman. Her second husband was Thomas Mongar. Her third and last husband was Kenneth R Self (1913–2001), and they were married on 20 May 1972. They were married for 29 years, and for 20 years they traveled to Arizona, Florida and Alaska in their camper. She was able to drive well in her 90s. On her 100th birthday, Self went on her first ride on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Self is a cancer survivor, having had a mastectomy at the age 94, but she opted for no further treatment following the surgery and, when none of the predicted pain came later, she stopped using the pills her doctor had given her. Her brother, Joseph “Joe” Chesnutt, passed away in 2007 at the age of 101. In 2017, she lived with her granddaughter, Diane Gunter, and has lived with her since 2001. Her daughter, Shirley Gunter, was alive in 2018 at the age of 86. She celebrated her 110th birthday in August 2019.

Helen Self passed away in Missoula, Montana, United States on 29 July 2021 at the age of 111 years, 346 days.