Qvist was born as Astrid Martens on 6 March 1912 in the village of Töjby on the Swedish-speaking coast of Ostrobothnia, Finland. She had two older sisters, Elvida and Ester, who lived to be 104 and 102 years old respectively.
Qvist remembered when Finland was a part of the Russian Empire. She recalled a period in her childhood when two Russian soldiers stayed for a night and demanded to be allowed to put their belongings in the family’s wardrobe. The family and the soldiers later became friends. Astrid attended school for four years, but was later needed to work at home.
Astrid married Einar Qvist in 1931. They had two children: Harry in 1931, and Viva in 1933. In the late 1950s, she travelled with her daughter to the United States for nine days. Harry died of a heart attack in a sauna in 1975 and not long after, Einar also died. Later, Astrid’s daughter Viva moved back to Finland to help her on her farm.
Qvist lived in Töjby until she was 100, when she moved into a nursing home in nearby Närpes. According to her niece, she was still in good shape mentally as a supercentenarian.
Qvist became the oldest living person in Finland aged 108, following the death of Pirkanmaa’s Helvi Härmä on 24 December 2020. When asked what her secret to longevity was, she claimed she never did anything in particular, but cited a “good diet” and to “work as hard as possible.”
On 9 April 2022, aged 110, she became the oldest living Nordic person after the death of Flarid Lagerlund of Sweden.
Qvist died as a result of COVID-19, along with other underlying medical conditions, on 18 July 2022 at the age of 110 years, 134 days. She was succeeded as the oldest Nordic person by Sweden’s Gunborg Hancock, and as Finland’s oldest person by Sirkka Nieminen of Uusimaa.