James Sisnett

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James Sisnett
Born James Emmanuel Sisnett
(1900-02-22)22 February 1900[1]
Saint George, Barbados
Died 23 May 2013(2013-05-23)
(aged 113 years, 90 days)[1]
Christ Church, Barbados
Known for Longest-lived Barbadian to be verified

James Emmanuel "Doc" Sisnett (22 February 1900 – 23 May 2013) was a Barbadian supercentenarian. Born and raised in Saint George, he spent his life as a blacksmith, sugar factory worker, and farmer, not retiring from the latter until he turned 100. In excellent health throughout his life, he died at the age of 113 years, 90 days and held a number of distinctions. Among them, he was the verified oldest man in the Western Hemisphere, the second-oldest man in the world, and the 12th oldest person overall. He was also the only verified supercentenarian from Barbados and, along with Jiroemon Kimura (who died 20 days after Sisnett), one of the last men born in the 19th century.

Early life and career[edit]

Sisnett was born on 22 February 1900 in Saint George, Barbados,[2] then a part of the British West Indies, as the son and fifth child of James Albert Egerton Sisnett and Matilda Ann Sisnett née Pitt.[3] He grew up in Saint George,[4] attended five years of school, and then trained as a blacksmith,[5] a capacity in which he worked until 1920. He then joined the Kendal Sugar Factory, where he worked in numerous positions, until retiring in 1970 as the chief factory engineer.[4] He was also a farmer, and continued in that trade until 2000.[6]

Sisnett wed his first wife, Anita Dowling, on December 23, 1923 and had five children with her prior to her death in 1937. He married his second wife, Josephine Evelyn, in 1942 and had six more.[6] Two of his 11 children predeceased him.[7] At the time of his death, he had 25 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Among his siblings, two sisters lived to the age of 100 and two others died at 98 and 99.[5]

Later life[edit]

In his later years Sisnett was referred to by several nicknames, including "Doc"[8] and "Grandad". At the age of 100, he received the key to the city of Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados,[9] and, in 2001, was awarded the Barbados Centennial Honour by Governor-General Clifford Husbands.[4] He celebrated his 110th birthday with a gathering of 200 people, including Mighty Gabby, who wrote and performed a song for the occasion.[2] A road in Saint George was named in his honor.[7]

Sisnett died in his sleep of natural causes on 23 May 2013, at the age of 113 years, 90 days, in a nursing home in Christ Church, Barbados.[9][10] He had an excellent memory and had been in good health prior to his death, having never been a hospital patient. Until his 100th birthday, his only doctor's visit had come at the age of nine, when he was given rum to cure a toothache. In 2007 he underwent laser eye surgery at the age of 106,[8] to remove cataracts, and also suffered from hearing loss.[11] In 2011 samples of his blood, as well as that of some of his relatives, were taken by an American company interested in the study of longevity.[5]


At the time of his death he was recognized as the verified oldest man in the Western Hemisphere, the second-oldest man in the world, behind Jiroemon Kimura of Japan,[9] and the 12th oldest living person overall. He is the only verified supercentenarian from Barbados[4] and had been the oldest person in the country since at least 2009.[12] He was, along with Kimura, one of the last men born in the 19th century.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "James Sisnett – Oldest man in Barbados turns 110 today". The Barbados Advocate. 2010-02-22. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  3. ^ Mrs. Everine Carter
  4. ^ a b c d "World’s second oldest man, a Barbadian, passes away". The Barbados Advocate. 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  5. ^ a b c Venable, Sarah (2013). "James Sisnett - Supercentenarian". Ins & Outs of Barbados (Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association): 211. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  6. ^ a b Medford, Sharifa (2011-02-22). "Super Centenarian James Sisnett - A National Treasure". Barbados Government Information Service. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  7. ^ a b "Overseas: Second oldest man dies in Barbados at the age of 113". The Nation Newspaper. 2013-05-24. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  8. ^ a b "107 and loving it". The Nation Newspaper. 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  9. ^ a b c Brumfield, Ben; Amir Ahmed (2013-05-25). "World's second-oldest man known dies at 113". CNN. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  10. ^ "Barbados’ supercentenarian James Sisnett is dead". The Daily Nation. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  11. ^ Clement, James (May 2013). "Why Some People Live So Long! Identifying What Enables Humans to Survive Past 110 in Good Health". Life Extension Magazine (Life Extension). Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  12. ^ Medford, Sharifa (2013-05-23). "Social Care Minister Comments on the Passing of 113-year-old James Sisnett". Ministry of Social Care. Barbados Government Information Service. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  13. ^ "James Sisnett muere a las 113 años en Barbados" (in Spanish). Radioangulo. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  14. ^ Langeland, Terje; Matsuyama, Kanoko (2013-06-12). "Jiroemon Kimura, Oldest Man in Recorded History, Dies at 116". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2013-06-14.