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Woman recognized as world's oldest dies in Puerto Rico at 114

Posted: Tuesday, June 01, 2004

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan, who at age 114 was recognized as the world's oldest person, has died after a bout with pneumonia, her family said Monday.

Iglesias died Saturday in a nursing home in San Juan, said Rene Matos, a great nephew who lives in El Paso, Texas. She was three months from turning 115.

''I was hoping she could make it to her 115th birthday, but it was impossible,'' Matos said by telephone from Texas. ''She was in the hospital about four or five days, and the day after she was released she died in the nursing home.''

Iglesias earned the distinction in April when Guinness World Records declared her the world's oldest living woman after a check of documents.

A baptismal certificate showed Iglesias was born Aug. 31, 1889, while a birth certificate issued in 1948 showed her birth date as Sept. 1, 1889.

Fred Hale Sr., 113, of Syracuse, N.Y., is listed by Guinness as the world's oldest man. He was born on Dec. 1, 1890.

Her death could make Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, 113, of the Netherlands the oldest living person, according to news reports. She was born in Smilde on June 29, 1890.

Matos, 64, said he thinks her longevity stemmed from her having ''a very easy life easy in the sense that she didn't have too much to worry about.''

Her husband was a bank manager in the 1940s and '50s who passed away in the 1970s, Matos said. They never had any children and lived peacefully, he said.

She enjoyed a beer with meals, Matos said.

''Even when she was over 100 years, every time we took her out to a restaurant, she always liked to have a beer, a small beer, a 7-ounce beer with the food,'' he said. ''That was the first thing she asked for when she got to a restaurant.''

Iglesias was born near the end of Spanish rule in Puerto Rico, which was seized by the United States in 1898.



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