Meet the World’s Oldest Gymnast (Video)
The oldest known female athlete in history was Johanna Quayle. She died at age 122 years old on March 20th 2012. Her death came after a long battle with cancer.
At her funeral, she received a standing ovation from those attending. The Guinness Book of Records says that she held the world record for “oldest living person” until her death.
Johanna Quayle was born in New York City on February 22nd 1876. She grew up in Brooklyn and attended the Stuyvesant High School. After high school, she worked as a bookkeeper for the American Red Cross before going to work for the United States government during World War I.
During this time, she met and married Edward J. Quayle, a man three years older than herself (she was only 19 when they wed). They had two children together: one daughter named Mary Ann and another son named John Henry.
After the war, she went back to work for the government where she stayed until 1933. That year, she retired from public life and lived alone in a small apartment in Manhattan’s East Village. She never remarried or divorced Edward Quayle and remained single throughout her life.
She moved to Long Island in the 1960s and remained there until her death.
During her lifetime, she was a heavy smoker and drinker (she particularly loved beer). She disliked working out and didn’t do any real form of exercise after high school. She only ate one meal a day and rarely had breakfast.
She never gave up though, and continued doing everything she enjoyed doing. Her favorite hobbies were word searches and watching TV. She had a habit of reading a few pages in a book and then putting it down and never picking it up again.
She spent most of her life involved in sports and the women’s right movement. She was a fan of baseball and supported the Brooklyn Dodgers until they moved to California. She also loved horse racing and would go to the track whenever she could.
Johanna Quayle was a guest of honor at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. The mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, declared February 22nd “Johanna Quayle Day”.
Despite having nearly fifty descendants alive today, she didn’t have any children of her own and spent her whole life as a spinster. She was an only child and had one sister named Joanna who died in 1937 at the age of 60.
Johanna Quayle died on March 20th, 2012. Her death came after a long battle with cancer and she was 122 years old.
Ever since their mother’s death, the Quayle family has made an effort to keep her memory alive. The Johanna Quayle Museum was set up at her house in Long Island and millions have visited it since then. Her story has been told and retold many times in books, newspapers, TV and radio shows.
Even operas and plays have been written about her and several movies are in production about her now.
On the date of her death, the New York Mets held a moment of silence in her honor before their game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered in several locations including the Baseball Hall of Fame and the New York Mets’ stadium. Her epitaph reads “She Loved Baseball”.
Her son John Henry Quayle (born 1951) is the oldest person alive today (as of 2013) at age 71.
Her daughter Mary Ann Quayle (born 1953) is the youngest person alive today at age 68.
Her great-great-great-granddaughter Kelsey is also a baseball fan and hopes to one day meet Johanna’s old friend, Sandy Koufax.
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(Press the blue button to learn more about Johanna Quayle)