There are many ways to get into the Guiness Book of World Records. Maria Esther de Capovilla made it by becoming the oldest person on Earth. On December 9th, it was confirmed and she’s now recognized by Guiness. She beats Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, of Puerto Rico, who is 114 (he’s listed as the oldest man) and she stole the title from Elizabeth Bolden of the US who is a mere 115.
Born in 1889 in Ecuador, widowed in 1949, and last rites during an illness in 1989, Maria Esther has been through it all. At 100, there was not much hope that she would live after a stomach ailment. At 116, she has been pronounced in good health.
The world has changed so much in those 116 years. There have been world wars. World leaders and political movements have come and gone. Most homes have electricity, indoor plumbing, television, and microwaves. People travel by airplane and the first civilians have taken space flights. Instead of waiting months for a letter to be delivered, people can communicate instantaneously.
Maria Esther credits her longevity to her serenity. She’s not one to get riled and she takes things in stride. She still goes to church and enjoys meals with her family. She likes to watch tv and read the newspaper. An assistant helps her move around–she doesn’t use a cane or wheelchair! Her eyesight is failing, but her memory is still pretty good.
It appears she has passed down her secret to her children. Three of her five children are still alive. Annibal is 77, Irma is 79, and Hilda is 81. All spring chickens compared to their mother!