Maude Farris-Luse

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Maude Farris-Luse (aka Maud Luse)
Born (1887-01-21)January 21, 1887
Morley, Michigan, U.S.
Died March 18, 2002(2002-03-18)
(aged 115 years, 56 days)
Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jason Farris (1903–1951)
Walter Luse (1956–1959)
Children Charley (1905–1987)
Esther (1907–1935)
Walter (1908–1913)
Ruby (1910–1910)
Clair (1911–1988)
Dale (1913–1986)
Lucille (1928–2003)
Parent(s) Frank Davis (1858–1920)
Della Jenkins (1863–1950)

Maude Farris-Luse (January 21, 1887 – March 18, 2002), later known as Maud Luse, was an American supercentenarian. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she was the oldest person in the world from June 2001 until her death nine months later, at age 115 years, 56 days. She outlived two husbands and six of her seven children.[1]

Birth and marriage[edit]

Maude Farris was born in Morley, Michigan on January 21, 1887. She married Jason Farris, a farmer and laborer, in 1903. She was 16, he was 23. They lived in Angola, Indiana initially, later moving to Coldwater, Michigan in 1923.


Maude had seven children, four sons and three daughters. She worked as a factory clerk, a hotel maid, a baker and a restaurant cook, retiring in her 70s. Her husband, Jason Farris, died at age 72 in 1951. Her second marriage to Walter Luse lasted only three years, ending with his death.[2]

She had only 1 living child Lucille who died the next year, Maude also had 26 grandchildren, 85 great-grandchildren and 65 great-great-grandchildren.

She lived in Coldwater, Michigan, which is just North of the Northeast corner of Indiana, where she moved as a child in 1891, and from there moved to Coldwater sometime in the 1920s. She had a sister who lived to be 99 (two other siblings apparently died young). Her mother died at 87 but their Father was murdered at age 62 (and was the child of parents who both died young).


She married a man who died aged nearly 74, and had a brother who died at 75. She was pictured at age 100 in a rare five-generation family photograph with each generation separated by exactly 25 years. In the picture with her are her son Clair at age 75, her grandson Donald at age 50, her great-granddaughter Cindy Coliver at age 25, and her great-great granddaughter Mallory who was born on Maude's 100th birthday. Her children took after her husband's longevity rather than hers. The firstborn died at 82, the others have all died at age 77 or less (one of whom died at only 28 and two did not survive infancy, the rest lived average to above average lifespans). The last-born by 15 years was the only survivor, and she was 73, ailing and died the next year.

"If you stop and think about it, she's seen the invention of the radio, the television, the space shuttle, she's seen everything," said Granddaughter Susie Crandall, 53. Crandall said Maude could no longer speak or hear. "I hold her hand and give her kisses and tell her that I love her, but she doesn't appear to understand what's going on," she said. "If I could turn out to be half the woman that she's been, I'd consider myself lucky." At age 93, her appendix burst, and some of her grandchildren feared then that she might die. Maude had lived in the nursing home since falling at home in 1991 and breaking her hip, when she was 104. She was still very healthy, said the marketing director of the Laurels at Coldwater Nursing Home. She still drank her milk every day and ate all her meals in the dining hall.

Later years[edit]

She had lived in the nursing home since falling at home in 1991 when she was 104 and breaking her hip. In later years, Maude became known for her big garden, for making pot holders by the dozen, and for her extreme generosity. When police caught some kids who broke into her house and stole money, Maude refused to press charges. "She said 'they probably needed it more than she did,'" said Donald Ferris, a 64-year-old grandson. Maude never smoked or drank. She would drop anything to fish. Great-granddaughter Cindy Coliver of Jackson remembered being taken aback to see Maude scaling bluegills in her living room. Home remedies were another eccentricity. Maud often was yellow from mustard rubs. The woman never spent a day in a hospital until age 95.[1] In her later years she was known as Maud Luse, having changed it legally.

Centenarian and supercentenarian years[edit]

In 1997, at the age of 110, Luse wrote a letter to Jeanne Calment, the oldest person whose age has ever been validated.[3] Calment died that same year, at age 122. With the death of Marie Brémont on June 6, 2001, Guinness editors declared Luse the world's oldest person on June 23, 2001.[4] In the absence of any birth certificate, they authenticated her age using U.S. Census Bureau records and her 1903 marriage license. On March 28, 2002, Luse died of pneumonia at 115,[1] having outlived six of her seven children. Helen Ferris, wife of Donald Ferris, Sr., remembers one regret Maud expressed about living so long. "Nobody calls her 'Maud' any more," Helen said. "Everyone calls her Mrs. Ferris or Grandma. She outlived everyone who called her Maud. So she lost that. It was a melancholy thought, if you dwell on it. So I hope no one is offended that I have taken the liberty of referring to potentially the-world's-oldest-person by her first name. Well done, Maud."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Prichard, James, Michigan woman, recognized by Guinness as world's oldest person, dies at 115 years, 56 days, Associated Press 19 March 2002. Retrieved December 11, 2010.
  2. ^ "Michigan woman declared world's oldest". The Blade. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ The Guinness Book of Records, 1999 edition, p. 102, ISBN 0-85112-070-9.
  4. ^ Maier, Heiner (2010). Supercentenarians. New York: Springer. ISBN 3-642-11519-5. 

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