6 April 1894Shellman, Georgia, United States


11 September 2009Los Angeles, California, United States



Gertrude Baines

Gertrude Baines was an American supercentenarian who held the title of the world’s oldest living person from 2 January 2009, following the passing of Maria de Jesus, until her own death on 11 September 2009.  Baines made history in 2008 when she, the daughter of former slaves, cast a ballot for U.S. President Barack Obama, the first African-American to hold the nation’s highest office.

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Hailing from Shellman, Georgia, she remembered her earliest recollection as a car journey to Canada. In her youth, she wedded Sam Conly at a tender age and experienced the tragic loss of her daughter, Annabelle, who succumbed to typhoid fever at 18 years old. Baines resided at the Western Convalescent Home in Jefferson Park, Los Angeles, where she passed away. Remarkably, she maintained independent living until the age of 105.

Baines claimed that she had never experienced a major illness throughout her life until her hospitalization in July 2009. When questioned about the factors contributing to her long life, she attributed it to God, stating “Ask Him…I took good care of myself, the way He wanted me to.”

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On 11 November 2008, Baines achieved the milestone of surpassing Carrie Lazenby’s record (1882-1996) and became the oldest person on record to be born in the state of Georgia, having lived for 114 years, 218 days. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the oldest woman to have ever passed away in the state of California.

Following the death of Arbella Ewingon on 22 March 2008, Baines assumed the title of the oldest living African-American. Furthermore, she became the oldest living person in the United States after Edna Parker‘s death on 26 November 2008.

Ms. Baines was validated by the Gerontology Research Group. She was the last living person verified to have been born in 1894 and remains one of the 30 longest-lived persons ever.