Drawing of Christian Mortensen
Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand Mortensen
August 16, 1882
Skårup, Skanderborg, Denmark
|Died||April 25, 1998|
(aged 115 years, 252 days)
|Known for||First verifiable male to achieve age 115, second-oldest verifiable male ever, oldest Danish and Nordic person ever|
Christian Mortensen (August 16, 1882 – April 25, 1998) was a Danish-American supercentenarian. When he died, his age of 115 years, 252 days was the longest verified lifespan of any male in modern history until 28 December 2012, when Jiroemon Kimura of Japan surpassed this record. Mortensen was the first man confirmed to reach age 115 (in 1997).
Mortensen was baptized in Fruering Church on December 26, 1882. Besides his baptismal record, other records include the 1890 and 1901 census enumerations in Denmark, and church confirmation in 1896.
Christian Mortensen was born the son of a tailor in the village of Skårup, near the city of Skanderborg, Denmark, on August 16, 1882. He began work as a tailor's apprentice in Skanderborg at age 16, in 1898, and later took work as a farmhand.
Mortensen emigrated to the United States in 1903, then aged about 20 or 21 years old. He traveled while working as a tailor but settled in Chicago where he had relatives. Mortensen worked various trades including as a milkman for Borden's Milk, as a restaurateur, and as a factory worker for the Continental Can Company. He was married for less than ten years, divorced and had no children. He did not remarry.
In 1950, Mortensen retired near Galveston Bay, Texas. Then, 28 years later at the age of 96, he moved to a retirement home in San Rafael, California. Mortensen claimed he rode his bicycle to the Aldersly Retirement Community, telling the staff that he was there to stay. Mortensen lived at Aldersly until his death in 1998.
Mortensen enjoyed an occasional cigar and insisted that smoking in moderation was not unhealthy. Mortensen preferred a vegetarian diet. He also drank boiled water. Mortensen was legally blind towards the end of his life and spent much of his time in a wheelchair listening to the radio. Toward the end of his life, his memory of distant events was good, but he could not remember recent events and increasingly needed assistance from the Aldersly staff.
On his 115th birthday Mortensen gave his advice for a long life: "Friends, a good cigar, drinking lots of good water, no alcohol, staying positive and lots of singing will keep you alive for a long time".
- New York Times, "Christian Mortensen, 115, Among Oldest," 1998-05-03. Accessed 2007-02-16
- Wilmoth, John; Axel Skytthe; Diana Friou; Bernard Jeune (1996). "The Oldest Man Ever? A Case Study of Exceptional Longevity" (PDF). The Gerontologist. 36 (6): 783–788. doi:10.1093/geront/36.6.783. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Christian Mortensen's birth record (see image) shows his birthplace as the village of Skårup, Denmark, which was located in Sogn Fruering parish, Herred Hjelmslev Hundred, Skanderborg County, which is now part of Skanderborg municipality.
- John R. Wilmoth (April 30, 1998). "Tribute to Christian Mortensen, 1882–1998". Department of Demography, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "The world's oldest folk. What do they know that we don't?". Observer. 10 August 1997.
- Curtsinger, James W. (2010). "Darwin in the Pumpkin Patch or Bay Area Travels With Charlie". In Losos, Jonathan B. (ed.). In the Light of Evolution: Essays from the Laboratory and Field. Roberts and Company. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0981519490.