Gerontology Wiki
Thelma Sutcliffe
Thelma Sutcliffe
Sutcliffe (aged 113) in 2019
Birth: 1 October 1906
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Death: 17 January 2022
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Age: 115 years, 108 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Thelma Sutcliffe (née Liesche; 1 October 1906 – 17 January 2022) was an American supercentenarian who holds the record as the oldest validated person ever from the U.S. state of Nebraska. At the time of her death, she was the oldest person living in the United States whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was also the last known validated American born in 1906, since the death Lucy Mirigian on 12 February 2021. Sutcliffe was the fifth-oldest validated living person in the world at the time of her death, behind Kane Tanaka, Lucile Randon, Antonia da Santa Cruz, and Tekla Juniewicz.


Thelma Sutcliffe was born in Benson, Omaha, Nebraska, on 1 October 1906 to August and Maude (née Adams) Liesche. Her mother died in November 1915 when Thelma was 9 years old. On 3 September 1924, at the age of 17, she married Bill Sutcliffe in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The couple had no children, and were married until Bill's death in 1971. Sutcliffe survived two bouts of breast cancer over the course of her life.

At the time of her 110th birthday in 2016, Sutcliffe lived in a residential apartment in Omaha, Nebraska. She reportedly exercised every morning, did her own laundry, and played bridge several times a week. In 2017, Sutcliffe moved in to an assisted living facility in Omaha. She celebrated her 114th birthday in October 2020. Sutcliffe's sister, Marie Kelso (1904–2011), lived to the age of 106.

In April 2021, Sutcliffe was reported to have lost most of her sight and some of her hearing, but otherwise was 'very sharp'.

Longevity Records

At the time of her 110th birthday in 2016, Sutcliffe was the oldest known person living in Nebraska. Following the death of Mina Kitagawa on 22 October 2020, Sutcliffe entered the top ten oldest validated living people in the world. Following the death of Lucy Mirigian, she became last remaining validated American born in 1906. Following the death of Hester Ford on 17 April 2021, Sutcliffe became the oldest validated living person in the whole of the United States.

On 14 April 2020, Sutcliffe became Nebraska's all-time longevity record-holder after surpassing the previous record of 113 years, 195 days set by Helen Stetter. Additionally, upon reaching the age of 113 years, 328 days on 24 August 2020, Sutcliffe became the oldest person ever born in Nebraska, surpassing the age of Clara Huhn. Sutcliffe is also the first person from Nebraska to turn 114 and 115.

Sutcliffe's sister, Marie Kelso (12 June 1904 – 8 March 2011), lived to the age of 106 years, 269 days. With a combined age of 222 years, 12 days, the sisters are one of the oldest pair of siblings ever recorded.

Sutcliffe died in Omaha, Nebraska, USA on 17 January 2022 at the age of 115 years, 108 days. Following her death, Bessie Hendricks became the oldest validated living person in the United States, and Maria Branyas Morera of Spain became the oldest validated living American-born person. Sutcliffe is currently tied with Susie Gibson as the 47th-oldest validated person ever.



United States' Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Clarida RoyMary BittlebrunSophia DeMuthFannie ThomasNellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Mathew Beard • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Florence Knapp • Orpha NusbaumElzona MaxeyAlphaeus Philemon ColeBirdie May VogtEttie Mae GreeneMargaret SkeeteWilhelmina Kott • Sarah Knauss • Myrtle Dorsey • Maud Farris-LuseGrace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Mary Christian • Elena Slough • Charlotte Benkner • Emma Verona Johnston • Elizabeth Bolden • Emma TillmanCorinne Dixon Taylor • Edna Parker • Gertrude Baines • Mary Josephine Ray • Neva Morris • Eunice Sanborn • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Goldie Michelson • Adele DunlapDelphine GibsonLessie BrownAlelia MurphyHester FordThelma SutcliffeBessie Hendricks