Edna Parker: Oldest Woman in the World

Edna Scott Parker is the oldest recognized person in the world. She is probably Shelbyville, Indiana‘s most famous resident, along with Sandy Elaine Allen who, though she died in August, 2008, still retains the title of the “world’s largest woman” in the Guinness Book of World Records. The two women lived in the same retirement center until Allen’s death.

Edna Parker, born on April 29, 1893, is, however, still alive and kicking. She became the state of Indiana‘s all-time oldest resident in January of 2007 at the age of 114 years and 274 days and earned the title of “oldest living American” in February of the same year. She made it into the list of 100 verified oldest people in history, at age 115, on October 29, 2008.

People older than 110 are called “supercentenarians,” and there aren’t very many of them across the planet. The vast majority of these living wonders are female. The very oldest verified person of all time was Jeanne Calment from France, who was over 122 years old.

Associated Press video about the passing of Edna Parker in Shelbyville, Indiana

Edna Parker passes her days in contentment in the Heritage House Convalescent Center in Shelbyville, Indiana, a smallish burg just southeast of Indianapolis. She remains strong, in good spirits and able to walk. She lived alone on a farm for some 55 years after the death of her husband. She was a schoolteacher who ate the typical foods of the American Midwest, mostly meat and potatoes. She loves to read and recite the works of Indiana’s famous poet, James Whitcomb Riley.

In recorded history, there are only 20 other people who have made it to a verifiable 115 years or older. Edna Parker has been honored by the world, by governors and senators, and by former president George W. Bush. But recognition from her hometown of Shelbyville meant the most to this venerable human being; Edna was given the key to the city before her death at the age of 115 in November of 2008.

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