Gerontology Wiki
Bernice King
Bernice King
Bernice King at her 108th birthday celebration
Birth: 4 April 1907
Manhattan, New York City, USA
Death: 28 March 2019
New York City, New York, USA
Age: 111 years, 358 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Lillian Bernice King (née Derrick; 4 April 1907 – 28 March 2019) was an American supercentenarian whose age is currently unvalidated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was one of the oldest known living people in New York, USA.


Bernice King was born Lillian Bernice Derrick in Manhattan, New York, USA on 4 April 1907 to parents Joseph Thomas Derrick (who was born in the West Indies) and Maud (née Wells) Derrick. She would later live in both Queens and Manhattan while summering in Saratoga Springs. Her maternal grandfather was born in Antigua, but gained his American citizenship by enlisting in the U.S. Navy and serving on the USS Monitor during the battle of Hampton Roads during the Civil War. She had two siblings, Dorothy and William. She went to church until she was 13, when the confirmation director told her family that they couldn't be confirmed due to their race.

In 1928, Bernice graduated with a degree in costume designing. She spent the next 25 years designing clothes for children. She married John King in the 1930s and had a daughter, Carol, with him, who sadly died during infancy. Bernice loved singing and dancing in her youth and early adulthood.

King liked to travel to places such as Europe and Asia with her sister Dorothy, and at home, she would work on artistic sewing and painting projects. Her favourite subject was children. Later in her life, she was widowed. She traveled the world, would bounce between homes in both the city and in Saratoga County upstate, and lived on her own until she was 105 when a previous hip surgery finally caught up to her.

King passed away in New York City on 28 March 2019 at the age of 111 years, 358 days.

“Being a nice person can really get you far in life,” said Henry Coshburn Jr., King’s nephew and closest living relative, during a 2017 birthday party at Manhattanville. “She always has a smile on her face, and she really enjoys life, every single day.”