Rafael Merkelj
Rafael Merkelj
Rafael Merkelj at age 100.
Birth: 5 February 1913
Velike Zablje, Ajdovscina, Austria-Hungary (now Slovenia)
Death: July 2020
Velike Zablje, Ajdovscina, Slovenia
Age: 107 years, 147+ days
Country: SloveniaSVN

Rafael Anton Merkelj (5 February 1913 – July 2020) was a Slovenian centenarian who was the oldest known man in Slovenia at time of his death.


Rafael Merkelj was born in Velike Zablje, Ajdovscina, Austria-Hungary (now Slovenia) on 5 February 1913, the second of four children. After finishing primary school he began to engage in agriculture and viticulture. He also set up a workshop and a smithy at home, and was one of the first to own a tractor in the region.

As a young man, he was drafted into the Italian army, and at the start of World War II he was drafted again as a reservist. He did not return home until 1947. He married Maria in 1954. The couple haf two children: Marjan and Ana. He got widowed in 2014.

He drove the car until the age of 86 years, the tractor until his 100th birthday, and planted his last vines at age 95 years. He had some problems with a hip injury in 2015 and had been lived with his son Marjan and daughter-in-law Marjetka until his death.

He became the oldest known living man in Slovenia following the death of 110 year-old Niko Dragos on 31 March 2018. In his 106th birthday, he had one son, one daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

There was also a history of longevity in his family: his sisters lived to be 103 and 97 years respectively.

Rafael Merkelj died in Velike Zablje, Ajdovscina, Slovenia in July 2020 at the age of at least 107 years, 147 days. Following his death, 106-year-old Mihael Jersic became the oldest known living man in Slovenia.


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