Gerontology Wiki
Bertha Flathers
Bertha Flathers
Bertha Flathers (left) in her youth.
Birth: 30 March 1885
Chatfield, Minnesota, USA
Death: 21 November 1997
Rochester, Minnesota, USA
Age: 112 years, 236 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Bertha Flathers (née Sturgis; 30 March 1885 – 21 November 1997) was an American supercentenarian who was one of the oldest known people in Minnesota when she died. Her case is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG).


Bertha Flathers was born Bertha Alene Sturgis on 30 March 1885 in Chatfield, Minnesota. She was the third of 6 children born to Ernest and Catherine (née Best) Sturgis. Her siblings were William, Ida, Claud, Grace, and Myrtle.

In 1909, she married Clarence Flathers in Pleasant Grove, and had three children with him: Lois (later Nelson), Boyd, and Genevieve (later Hayden). Clarence and Bertha ran the family farm together, whilst Bertha worked as a dressmaker. She drove a plough and 5 horses. Bertha once served breakfast to outlaw Jesse James and his gang, who had ridden up to the Nye Farmhouse, near Chatfield. Bertha taught herself to drive in 1919, and continued to drive until she was 93, never having an accident or getting a ticket.

On the farm, Bertha and her husband grew corn, oats and hay, and raised cattle, pigs, chickens and sheep. She never drove a tractor, saying they were "noisy things".

Clarence passed away in 1953 after 44 years of marriage. Bertha sold the farm after her husband's death; none of her children were interested in farming. Bertha later moved to Rochester, Minnesota. When she was 90 years old, she covered her grandson's condo in toilet paper. In every house she lived in, Bertha always had a garden which she would grow vegetables in.

Some time before her 107th birthday, Bertha moved to Woodside Convalescent Centre, and remained there until her death. On her 107th birthday, when she was told she couldn't have any candles on her birthday cake because there would be a fire hazard, she responded sarcastically with "My, oh my, oh my, what am I going to do?".

Bertha Flathers passed away on 21 November 1997 at the age of 112 years, 236 days. All of her three children outlived her.