Gerontology Wiki
Christian Mortensen
Christian Mortensen
Christian Mortensen at the age of 114
Birth: 16 August 1882
Skårup, Skanderborg, Denmark
Death: 25 April 1998
San Rafael, California, USA
Age: 115 years, 252 days
Country: DenmarkDENUnited StatesUSA

Christian Mortensen (16 August 1882 – 25 April 1998) was a Danish-American supercentenarian who was the oldest validated man in recorded history at the time of his death. At the final age of 115 years, 252 days, Mortensen's longevity record stood for close to 15 years before being surpassed in age by Jiroemon Kimura of Japan in December 2012. Born in Denmark, Mortensen's extreme age makes him a noticeable outlier even among other Scandinavian supercentenarians; he remains the only Nordic-born person ever known to have lived past their 113th birthday, with the second-oldest from this region, Astrid Zachrison from Sweden, dying on the exact date of her 113th birthday. Due to the fact that he moved from his native Denmark to the United States in his early 20s, he was the oldest known emigrant until Italian-American woman Dina Manfredini narrowly outlived him by just 5 days in December 2012, only 2 weeks before Jiroemon Kimura would break his male longevity record.


Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand Mortensen was born in Skaarup, Skanderborg, Denmark, on 16 August 1882, to Jens Carl Martinus Mortensen and Maren Therkildsen Thyboe. The youngest of six siblings, he was baptized in Fruering Church on 26 December 1882.[1] Besides his baptismal record, other records include the 1890 and 1901 census enumerations in Denmark, and church confirmation in 1896.

In 1903, he migrated to the United States, and lived in various areas and worked in various trades including as a milkman and in a can factory. In Denmark, Mortensen had worked as a farmhand and apprenticed as a tailor. He apparently was married though only briefly and never had children. Mortensen enjoyed an occasional cigar, and, very unusually for a supercentenarian, was known to show a bit of feistiness even in his final years. In August 1997, for instance, he expected to get the Guinness "oldest person" title, but on 14 August 1997, Guinness named Marie-Louise Meilleur of Canada, age 116, the "world's oldest person". Mortensen, angered, said they "just did that to spoil my birthday" (he turned 115 only two days after). Later, however, when he found out that fellow American Sarah Knauss was older too (116 as well), he said "c'est la vie". Mortensen could have been given the title of "oldest living man", however, but Guinness did not officially implement that category until mid-2000.

In 1978, he rode his tricycle to the Aldersly Retirement Community in San Rafael, boldly telling the staff that he was Danish, and that he was there to stay. Mortensen lived there for his final 20 years.[2][3][4]

Chris Mortensen died in San Rafael, California, USA, on 25 April 1998. He is the oldest recognized male ever to die in the United States, and the oldest recognized person ever born in Denmark. He is also the oldest person to ever die in the U.S. state of California. At his death, Mortensen was the second-oldest recognized living person only behind Sarah Knauss, also from the United States. He was 115 years, 252 days old.[5] He had become the oldest man to ever live whose age is not disputed until 28 December 2012, when Jiroemon Kimura surpassed him.

He was the last surviving validated person born in 1882 and was the only Nordic person to have lived past their 113th birthday. Mortensen also was the oldest supercentenarian who emigrated until his age was surpassed by Italian emigrant to the USA, Dina Manfredini. Manfredini herself was later surpassed by Tekla Juniewicz on 23 February 2022.

See also: List of male supercentenarians



  1. Christian Mortensen's birth record (see Churchbook above) shows his birthplace as the village of Skaarup, Denmark, which was located in Fruering Parish, Hjelmslev Hundred, Skanderborg County, which is now part of Skanderborg municipality.
  2. Torri Minton, San Francisco Chronicle, "One of World's Oldest Dies in His Sleep", page A-18, 1998-04-28. Accessed 2007-02-16
  3. John Wilmoth, Christian Mortensen, 1882-1998. Accessed 2007-02-16
  4. Karyn Hunt, San Francisco Examiner, "Guinness book checking after death of woman, 112", page A-5, 1997-08-05
  5. New York Times, "Christian Mortensen, 115, Among Oldest", 1998-05-03. Accessed 2007-02-16

External links

World's Oldest Living Man Titleholders (V • TE)

Sylvester Melvin • Joseph Saint-Amour • William Fullingim • John Mosley Turner
Friedrich Wedeking • Frederick Butterfield • Jean Teillet • Charlie Nelson • Charlie Phillips • Mathew Beard • Joe Thomas • Herman Smith-Johannsen • Alphaeus Philemon Cole • John Evans • Henri Perignon • James Wiggins • Frederick Frazier • Josep Armengol-Jover • Christian Mortensen • Johnson Parks • Walter Richardson • Denzo Ishizaki • Antonio Urrea-Hernandez • John Painter • Antonio Todde • Yukichi Chuganji • Joan Riudavets-Moll • Fred Hale • Emiliano Mercado del Toro • Tomoji Tanabe • Henry Allingham • Walter Breuning • Jiroemon Kimura • Salustiano Sanchez • Arturo Licata • Alexander Imich • Sakari Momoi • Yasutaro Koide • Israel Kristal • Francisco Nunez Olivera • Masazo NonakaChitetsu WatanabeBob WeightonEmilio Flores MarquezSaturnino de la Fuente GarciaJuan Vicente Perez Mora

United States' Oldest Living Man Titleholders (VE)

Charlie Nelson • Charlie Phillips • Mathew Beard • Joe Thomas • Alphaeus Philemon Cole • Alton Gilbert • Oscar DuboisJames Wiggins • Frederick Frazier • Christian Mortensen • Johnson Parks • Walter Richardson • John Painter • John McMorran • Fred Hale • Earl Brush • Moses Hardy • Thomas Nelson • Antonio Pierro • George Francis • Walter Breuning • Shelby Harris • Salustiano Sanchez • Alexander Imich • Conrad Johnson • Wash Wesley • Felix Simoneaux • Frank Levingston • Clarence Matthews • Richard Overton • Henry Tseng • CP Crawford • Irving Piken • Lawrence Brooks • Ezra Hill