Nation’s Oldest Person Dies At 116, Shared Her Secrets For Longevity

Edith Ceccarelli, who was recognized as the oldest living person in the United States, has passed away just weeks following her 116th birthday, local media reports.

Hailing from the quaint Northern California locality of Willits, Ceccarelli was born in 1908, an era when stage coaches hadn’t yet faded into history. She died a mere 17 days past her birthday on Feb. 5, according to sources at KTVU-TV.

Ceccarelli, often referred to by those close to her as “Edie,” took her first breath in Willits as the eldest of seven siblings, born to Italian immigrants Agostino and Maria Recagno. Her life, spanning over a century, was woven with a deep love for the arts, be it acting, singing, or dancing. She found love on the dance floor of a senior center in Ukiah during the late ’80s and continued her passion for dance past her 100th birthday. At the grand age of 104, she penned a letter to a local newspaper, seeking a dance partner and proclaiming, “Dancing keeps your limbs strong.”

The town of Willits celebrated Ceccarelli as a “local celebrity” and held festive public gatherings, parades and luncheons in her honor. Revered by the community, Ceccarelli never hesitated to recount tales of her extensive life experiences.

Official statements from Willits pay tribute to Edith as “an inspiration for the community,” someone who shared memories that resonated with pride among the residents, and whose stories were rooted not only in personal milestones but in the evolution of the Northern California region.

Until the age of 107, Ceccarelli lived independently before transitioning to a care facility within Willits. In conversations about her longevity, she credited moderate consumption of red wine with dinner, minding one’s own business, taking regular naps, and abstaining from smoking as her personal secrets to a long life, as recounted by the New York Times and KTVU.

Following Ceccarelli’s death, Elizabeth Francis from Texas, aged 114, now holds the title of the oldest person in the U.S., a record certified by the Gerontology Research Group. The world’s most senior individual is Maria Branyas Morera, originally from San Francisco, born on March 4, 1907, and currently residing in Spain.