Thelma Sutcliffe, who was born in 1906, is also the seventh oldest living person in the world

By Katie Campione
April 30, 2021 06:42 PM
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Thelma Sutcliffe
Credit: Mike Kelly/The World-Herald via AP

A 114-year-old Nebraska woman is now the oldest living person in America.

Thelma Sutcliffe, who was born in 1906, became the oldest living American after a 115-year-old woman from North Carolina died on April 17. She is also the seventh oldest living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

The supercentenarian has lived through both World Wars and, now, two global pandemics — first the 1918 Spanish flu and now COVID-19.

Residing in an assisted living facility in Omaha, Nebraska, Sutcliffe hasn't been able to spend much quality time with her loved ones over the past year.

Sutcliffe has already received her COVID-19 vaccine, and she's looking forward to the day that she can finally share a meal with friends again, her longtime friend Luella "Lou" Mason, told the Omaha World-Herald.

"She's just looking forward to the day that I can finally eat with her in the dining room again," Mason said. "She tells me, 'I know we have to go by the rules, but I don't like it.'"

Mason added that while she's glad the facility is following strict health and safety protocols, "Thelma is as determined as ever to do what she wants to do."

"She asks me every time I visit, 'Are you going to eat with me today?'" Mason told the World-Herald. "It breaks my heart that I can't."

Sutcliffe was married in 1924. Her husband, Bill, died in the 1970s, and the couple had no children, the World-Herald reports.

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At 114 years and 211 days old as of Friday, Sutcliffe doesn't tend to worry about her longevity, Mason told the newspaper.

"As far as her age, she doesn't believe in worrying at all," Mason said. "She always says, 'What good does it do to worry?' I think that's how you live to be 114 years old."

Sutcliffe is one of just 19 known living supercentenarians — anyone who is 110 years or older — in the world. All of them are women, the Gerontology Research Group says.

There are just three others who live in the United States.