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BIOGRAPHY

Antonia Gerena Rivera was born in Loíza, Puerto Rico, on 19 May 1900, to parents Jose Felix Gerena and Basilia Rivera. She was raised in Barrio Cubuy, Río Grande. She was of Canarian ancestry.

At the age of 15, she left the family’s farm and married Jose Solis Serrano. Their first daughter, Isabelle, was born in 1917. After World War I, she worked as a teacher in a rural schoolhouse in the Puerto Rican countryside. During the war, she had to work on a farm and raise her children on her own, since her husband fought in the war. The couple had nine children.

In the 1970s, she moved to Florida, USA.

Her brother, Francisco Genera Rivera, a World War I veteran, was born in 1898 and died in 2003, at the age of 105. One of her sisters lived to 103. Her family claimed that the genes of their family were one of the secrets of her longevity.

Gerena Rivera died in Kendall, Florida, USA, on 2 June 2015, at the age of 115 years, 14 days. She was survived by two daughters, aged 90 and 89 respectively at the time of her death, and 27 grandchildren.

RECOGNITION

Her age was verified by Robert Young, and validated by the Gerontology Research Group in December 2010.

Gerena Rivera holds the record for being the oldest Puerto Rican-born woman ever, and the second-oldest person behind Emiliano Mercado del Toro (1891–2007, who holds the overall island record at 115 years, 156 days).

At the time of death, she was the world’s sixth-oldest living person.

ATTRIBUTION

GALLERY

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