25 December 1908Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium


3 August 2020Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium



Marietta Bouverne

Marietta Joanna Dekens-Bouverne was a Belgian supercentenarian who has been the longevity recordholder for the province of East Flanders since 2019. She was the oldest living person in the country for six months. Her age has been validated by the European Supercentenarian Organisation (ESO) and recognised by LongeviQuest (LQ).

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Bouverne was born in Ghent, East Flanders, into a working-class family. Her parents, Arthur Bouverne and Maria Bracke, sent her to a school that taught entirely in French. As a young adult, she worked as a secretary and, several years later, as a notary.

Bouverne married chocolate trade representative Albertus Dekens in 1932 in Anderlecht, Brussels. The couple had no children. After living in Anderlecht for a time, they returned to Ghent where Bouverne was widowed in 1960.

Until 2004, Bouverne lived independently in her Ghent apartment. She moved into a nursing home aged 95, where she lived until April 2017, when the nursing home closed. She was temporarily relocated until December of that year, when the new facility opened.

As a centenarian, Bouverne remained active and had a keen interest in culture, visiting many museums, subscribing to several magazines, and reading a variety of books in different languages. She took up clay modelling, her first creation being a painted black cat.

Shortly before her 109th birthday, Bouverne fell and fractured a vertebra, from which she quickly recovered. For her 110th birthday, she received a book, written in English, about cats.

Bouverne died on 3 August 2020 in her nursing home at the age of 111 years, 222 days. At the time, she was the sixth-oldest person ever to die in Belgium.

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On 29 December 2019, aged 111 years, 4 days, Bouverne surpassed the age of Fernande De Raeve to become the oldest person to ever live in the province of East Flanders.

Bouverne became the oldest resident of Belgium following the death of 111-year-old Elisabeth De Proost on 25 January 2020. Upon her own death, the title passed to Julia Van Hool (1909 – 2021).

Bouverne’s age was verified by Anthony Croes-Lacroix and Ronny Motmans, and was validated by the ESO on 17 May 2020.

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