Emma Tillman aged 114 with great-grand daughter Carol Stewart
November 22, 1892|
Gibsonville, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||January 28, 2007
(aged 114 years, 67 days)
East Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
|Title||World's oldest person (January 24, 2007 until January 28, 2007)|
|Spouse(s)||Arthur Tillman (married: 1914-1939 his death)|
Emmaline "Emma" Fanchon Tillman, (née Faust; November 22, 1892 – January 28, 2007) was an American supercentenarian and, at age 114 years 67 days, the oldest validated living person from the death of 115-year-old Puerto Rican man Emiliano Mercado del Toro on January 24, 2007 until her own death four days later.
Tillman was one of 23 children born to former slaves in Gibsonville, North Carolina. Her maiden name, Faust, had been adopted from the plantation owner who owned her father's family before the Civil War, Cane Faust. The family moved to Glastonbury, Connecticut in 1900, where Tillman became the only African-American attending Glastonbury High School, graduating in 1909 as the first African-American to do so there. Tillman ran her own baking and catering service, sometimes serving meals for visiting state dignitaries, and whose regular customers included Dr. Thomas Hepburn, a noted Hartford Hospital urologist and father to actress Katharine Hepburn, who she served as the family cook for a number of years. Her husband died in 1939. Four of her siblings lived past age 100, including a brother who lived to be 108, a sister who reached 105 and two others who reached 102.
She lived independently until the age of 110. On January 18, 2007, she became the oldest living woman following the death of 115-year-old Canadian Julie Winnefred Bertrand, and on January 24, 2007 she became the world's oldest living person with the death of 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro (a native of Puerto Rico).
She died in an East Hartford nursing home on 28 January 2007, aged 114 years, 67 days. She holds the record for the shortest period spent as the world's oldest person. After her death, Yone Minagawa of Japan became the world's oldest person.
On 9 March 2007, Tillman was discussed as a major subject of a lecture by Felicia Nimue Ackerman, a professor of philosophy at Brown University, titled "Nature vs. the Tragedy of Emma Faust Tillman’s Death", at the Karbank Symposium in Environmental Philosophy at Boston University. The lecture discussed issues related to environmental philosophy, particularly the value of individual human lives compared to the value of natural environments and their preservation.
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