Woman Considered Oldest Living American Dies Shortly After Her 116th Birthday | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Zach Jewell.

    A California woman who was believed to be the oldest living American died last week, just over two weeks after her 116th birthday.

    Edith "Edie" Ceccarelli died peacefully in her sleep at a care home in Willits, California, on February 22, according to Suzanne Picetti-Johnson, who helped organize birthday parades for Ceccarelli over the past four years. Ceccarelli, who lived in California for her entire life, was born in Willits on February 5, 1908, as the eldest of seven children. At the time of her birth, Theodore Roosevelt was entering the final year of his presidency, and Henry Ford was eight months away from shipping the first Model T to a customer.

    "She was an inspiration to all of us on how to live a long healthy life," Picetti-Johnson told KTXL.

    "She loved people, she loved her community, she loved her family and stayed connected her whole life," Picetti-Johnson added. "She showed us how to live."

    Ceccarelli's death was also confirmed last week by Perla Gonzalez, who co-owns the Holy Ghost Residential Care Home, where Ceccarelli lived for the past nine years. Gonzales told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that she remembers Ceccarelli saying her secret to longevity was to "Have a couple of fingers of red wine with your dinner, and mind your own business."

    Gonzales added, "I think the secret was really her positivity, and her sincerity and kindness. I don't think she ever thought bad about other people."

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    Ceccarelli moved a few times, including to Eureka, Santa Rosa, and Ukiah. She married her high school sweetheart, Elmer "Brick" Keenan, in 1933, and the couple was together for more than 50 years until Keenan died in 1984. Edie and Brick adopted a daughter, Laureen, who had three children. Edie outlived each of her grandchildren, according to the Press Democrat.

    Shortly after Keenan's death, she married Charles Ceccarelli, who died in 1990, just five years after they tied the knot. Ceccarelli remained healthy and active well beyond her 100th birthday and lived on her own until she was 107, when she moved into the residential care facility.

    With her death, the title of oldest living person in America was passed to Texas woman Elizabeth Francis, who is 114. The oldest known living person in the world is Maria Branyas Morera, who was born in San Francisco but moved to Spain as a young girl. Morera was born just a few months before Ceccarelli.
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