Friday, April 15, 2011

Dept. of No Surprise: Gerontology Division

The world's oldest man died this week. So did the world's oldest marathon runner (maybe). We can't claim to be surprised. They were really old.

Raised in poverty, married once, a railroad man and a Shriner, 114-year-old Walter Breuning sounds like a decent guy. (Although he hailed from the cold flat northern states, he doesn't seem to have been a Lutheran. For the record, though, we do live to some astonishing ages.). The BBC says he was "passionate about ending [the wars] in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Breuning was also a lucky guy, in many ways and especially with regard to military service. He signed up during World War I, but was never called for duty. He was too old for WWII.

Also dead this week: Buster Martin, who claimed to be 104. He ran the London Marathon in 2008, but didn't make the Guiness book because he couldn't verify his age. The guy might have been a mere 94 at the time.


Anonymous said...

The last World War One vet?

Father Anonymous said...

Not really. I couldn't find any press coverage of Breuning's military service or lack thereof, but according to Wikpiedia, he volunteered, but was never called up for duty, so he wasn't actually a veteran.

Also per Wikipedia, there are only two living WWI vets left -- a male combat vet in Australia and a woman living in England. Both are younger than Breuning was.