America’s Oldest Citizen Edith Ceccarelli Dies Weeks After Turning 116

  • On February 22, Edith Ceccarelli died.
  • She passed away peacefully in her sleep weeks after celebrating her 116th birthday.
  • Edith was the oldest living American citizen and the second-oldest living person on Earth.


America is bidding farewell to Edith Ceccarelli, who was the nation’s oldest living citizen. Edith had just celebrated turning 116 on February 5, an occasion ushered in with a festive local parade full of well-wishers. Sadly, Edith passed away on February 22.


News of Edith’s passing on Thursday comes from Suzanne Picetti-Johnson, who has contributed to organizing her birthday celebration for the last four years. Suzanne further shares that Edith had passed away peacefully in her sleep.


Edith Ceccarelli, America’s oldest-living citizen, dies

Edith Ceccarelli dies at the age of 116, weeks after her highly-celebrated birthday / YouTube screenshot

Edith Ceccarelli, née Recagno and formerly Keenan, was born on February 5, 1908, in Willits, California. She was the oldest out of seven children total, to Italian immigrant parents Agostino and Maria Recagno. Both her mother and father lived to see their nineties.

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Throughout her life, Edith had an enduring passion for dance and would keep the hobby up into her old age. In fact, she continued to live independently until 107, at which point she moved into a retirement home. She maintained her mobility with a walker until she was 114. Sadly, along the way, Edith developed dementia.

Edith Ceccarelli enjoyed a life lived to its fullest

It became tradition for the whole neighborhood to come out and celebrate Edith / YouTube screenshot

Edith’s old age meant that she had to say many goodbyes. She has outlived all six of her siblings as well as two husbands, a daughter, and three grandchildren. She married her first husband, Elmer Keenan, in 1933, and the two stayed together until he died in 1984. Her second husband, Charles Ceccarelli, who she married in 1986, died in 1990.

Edith became the oldest living American / YouTube

At the time of her death, not only was Edith the oldest living citizen in America, but she was also the second-oldest living person on Earth. With her passing, 114-year-old Texas resident Elizabeth Francis is the oldest living American. Francis is the oldest citizen in Texas and is currently the oldest living African American; Francis is also one of the very last living Americans born in the 1900s decade. Francis, who grew vegetables in her own backyard, has never smoked a day in her life and credits her long life to her faith in God.

Reflecting on Edith’s legacy, neighbor Suzanne Picetti-Johnson praised, “She was an inspiration to all of us on how to live a long healthy life.” Rest in peace, Edith Ceccarelli.

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