22 October 1901Lawson, King County, Washington, United States


25 October 2015Poulsbo, Kitsap County, Washington, United States



Emma Otis

Emma Gustava Otis (née Erikson) was an American supercentenarian who is the longevity recordholder of the state of Washington. She was, upon her death, the second-oldest resident of the United States, after Susannah Mushatt Jones.

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Otis was born as Emma Gustava Erikson in Lawson, a coal-mining town in Washington state, to John and Emma Thoren Erikson, who hailed from Fjällbacka, Sweden. At the age of five, the family moved to Gig Harbor, and Otis attended a two-room schoolhouse there until 10th grade, when she had to go to Tacoma for high school.

Aged 16, Otis started studying to become a nurse in Tacoma. She married firefighter Robin “Bob” Otis in 1921, and the couple had three children. In the 1930s, as a girl scout leader, she founded Camp St. Albans, a girl scout campground.

In 1951, Otis successfully campaigned to have the American goldfinch proclaimed Washington’s state bird. She was widowed in 1962.

Otis was very active in her later years. In her 70s, she rode a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and assisted her daughter in installing the subflooring at her house. During an earthquake, she stood on her dining room table and supported a chandelier she feared might fall. At 100 years old, she climbed the roof of her house to remove moss, would walk the 1.5 miles to the grocery store and back, and could still mow her lawn.

Otis lived independently until she was 106, when she moved to Poulsbo to be closer to her daughter. As of her 112th birthday, she did not use any walking aid and took no medication.

Otis died on 25 October 2015, three days after turning 114. She was survived by her daughter Doris, as well as nine grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 23 great-great-grandchildren.

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Otis’ age was verified by Robert Young, Gabriel Ainsworth, and Stefan Jamin, and was validated by the GRG on 25 June 2013.

In mid-2014, Otis became the longevity recordholder for the state of Washington after surpassing the age of Elizabeth Fisher (1884 – 1996). She later became the first person from the state to reach the ages of 113 and 114.

Otis was the last known American born in 1901.

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