Michigan’s oldest resident turns 114

Michigan’s oldest resident turns 114

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Ellen Goodwill, the oldest living person in Michigan, turned 114 years old Tuesday.

Goodwill was recognized with a plaque by the state of Michigan, which was sent to Advantage Living Center in Battle Creek, WWMT reported.

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Goodwill was born Ellen Lear in Paris, Kentucky, on Feb. 2, 1907, the television station reported.

She waved through a window to longtime friends gathered in the parking lot, followed by a private party with staff at the care facility, where she has lived since 2007, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. Goodwill was then treated to a birthday parade.

“I was excited to see her. I wanted to just touch her and hold her and kiss her, but quite naturally we blew kisses from the window,” Sharon Miller, a family friend for more than 60 years, told the newspaper. “She lit up like a Christmas tree and was happy. The nurses and staff there were surrounding her with love.”

Goodwill has no known siblings, the Enquirer reported. She lived through the 1918 pandemic before moving to Columbus, Ohio, as a young adult, where she worked as a model.

According to Gerontology Research Group, which gathers information about the world’s oldest humans, Goodwill became the oldest known resident of Michigan on May 15, 2020. Goodwill rose to No. 1 following the death of Irene Dutton, of Kalamazoo. The oldest woman in the U.S. is currently Hester Ford, who turned 115 on Aug. 15, 2020.

The person who lived the longest in the United States that has been verified by records was Sarah Knauss, of Hollywood, Pennsylvania, who died in 1999 when she was 119 years, 97 days. The oldest person to ever live on record was Jeanne Calment, a French woman who lived 122 years, 164 days when she died in 1997.

The current average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78.6 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When Goodwill was born in 1907, the life expectancy of women in the U.S. was 49.9 years, according to the Berkeley Department of Demography.

Goodwill married U.S. Army veteran Augustus “Gus” C. Goodwill on July 29, 1947, in Battle Creek, according to Michigan marriage records. “Gus” Goodwill was receiving treatment in Battle Creek for injuries sustained during World War II, the Enquirer reported.

The Goodwills were married for 25 years before his death following a brief illness on April 16, 1972, when he was 63, according to Michigan death records. The couple did not have any children, according to the Enquirer.

“God is preserving her and has her here for a reason and purpose,” Miller told the Enquirer. “She’s a woman of God and God is love, and that about sums her up.”