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Thelma Sutcliffe

Validated By: On Date: Feb. 01st 2019

Thelma Sutcliffe (née Liesche) was an American supercentenarian whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She holds the record as the oldest validated person ever from the U.S. state of Nebraska. At the time of death, she was the oldest living person in the United States.

Biography

Sutcliffe was born in Benson (present-day city of Omaha), Nebraska, USA, on 1 October 1906, as the second of four children born to parents August Gustaf Liesche (1877–1955) and Maude Adams (1883–1915). Her father was born in Germany. Her siblings were: Marie Elise Kelso (1904–2011), Eldred Almus Liesche (1909–1979) and Wallace A. Liesche (1915–1916). In November 1915, her mother passed away. Sutcliffe was 9 years old at the time. Her father later married Mattie Louise Anderson (1885–1956). She graduated from Benson High School in Omaha.

On 3 September 1924, at the age of 17, she married William Ted Sutcliffe (1902–1971) in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The couple had no children. She survived two bouts of breast cancer over the course of her life. In the 1940s, she worked for the War Department, but otherwise she was a housewife.

At the age of 97, she gave up driving when she could no longer see green lights clearly. Her older sister, Marie Elise Kelso, died in Arizona in March 2011, aged 106. At the age of 107, she still lived independently and was an avid bridge player at the time, even when she became a supercentenarian. In 2021, she moved to Brighton Gardens assisted living facility. When asked about the secret of her longevity, she attributed it to the fact that she never smoked, didn’t have children and refused to worry about anything.

Sutcliffe passed away in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, on 17 January 2022, at the age of 115 years, 108 days.

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Recognition

Her age was validated by the Gerontology Research Group on 1 February 2019.

On 14 April 2020, she surpassed the final age of Helen Stetter (1893–2007), becoming the oldest person ever (to live and/or die) in the U.S. state of Nebraska, at the age of 113 years, 196 days.

On 23 August 2020, she surpassed the final age of Clara Huhn (1887–2000), becoming the oldest person ever born in Nebraska, at the age of 113 years, 327 days. She would later become the first person from Nebraska who reached the ages of 114 and 115.

On 12 February 2021, following the death of 113-year-old Lucy Mirigian, she became the last remaining validated American born in 1906.

On 17 April 2021, following the death of 115-year-old Hester Ford, she became the oldest living person in the United States, at the age of 114 years, 198 days.

Following her death, Bessie Hendricks became the oldest living person in the United States, and María Branyas Morera of Spain became the oldest living American-born person.

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Attribution

* “Mrs Thelma M. “Babe” Liesche Sutcliffe” – FindAGrave

* “Grace: For Thelma, at age 107, there’s no time like the present” – Omaha World-Herald, 2 October 2013

* “Thelma Sutcliffe, Nebraska’s oldest citizen, celebrates her 112th birthday” – AP NEWS, 3 October 2018

* “Nebraska’s oldest person set to celebrate 114th birthday” – Boston 25 News, 30 September 2020