America’s oldest person, a 114-year-old woman who voted in every election since women earned the right in 1920 and had the thinnest file in her doctor’s office, has died.
Verona Johnston died Wednesday at home in Worthington, said her daughter, Julie Johnson.
“She just wore out,” Johnson said. “She was still very sharp up until a few months ago.”
Johnson said her mother was “ready to go,” and that shortly before her death she said: “Dying is hard, but everyone has to do it, and I hope I do it well.”
Johnston moved to Ohio at age 98 to live with Johnson and her husband, both in their 80s.
She was born Aug. 6, 1890, in Indianola, Iowa. She was the eighth of nine children born to Civil War veteran Joseph Calhoun and Emma Speer Calhoun.
Johnston voted in every election since women earned the right in 1920, even casting an absentee ballot in November.
Relatives said Johnston lived a wholesome life, rarely visited doctors and never used the deductible on her health insurance policy. The secretary at her doctor’s office said Johnston had the thinnest file on record.
Johnston attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she studied Latin and graduated in 1912. At the time, tuition was $54 per year.
Johnston taught Latin in high schools across Iowa. She married Harry Johnston, an Iowa physician who died in 1970.
After her husband’s death, Johnston traveled across Europe, taking detailed notes to share with friends when she returned.
Johnson said her mother enjoyed books, and read large-print books with a magnifying glass until she had to switch to books on tape.
Johnston’s survivors include four children, 13 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
The oldest living American is now Bettie Wilson of Mississippi, and Hendrikje van Andel of the Netherlands is the world’s oldest person, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Both are 114.
Van Andel was born June 29, 1890, and Wilson was born on Sept. 13 in that year.