Indiana Woman Now World's Oldest Person

Edna Parker, 114, Becomes Oldest Person After Japanese Woman's Death

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Edna Parker, 114, of Shelbyville is now the world's oldest person.

Yone Minagawa, of Japan, died Monday at the age of 114. An official said Mingawa died of old age at a nursing home in southwestern Japan.

Parker was born on April 20, 1893. She lives at the Heritage House Convalescent Center, about 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis. She was born in Morgan County, growing up on a farm before becoming a teacher.

She taught in a two-room school in Smithland for several years until she wed her childhood sweetheart and next-door neighbor, Earl Parker, in 1911.

The same year, she graduated from Franklin College with a degree in education. But as was the tradition of that era, her teaching career ended with her marriage. She began the arduous life of a farm wife, preparing meals for as many as 12 men who worked on her husband's farm.

Parker had two sons, both of whom she has outlived. Her husband died in 1938. At just 5 feet tall and 70 pounds, Parker is still able to walk. She is in good health and enjoys reciting poetry.

Edna Parker talks with Sandy Allen, the world's tallest woman at 7 feet 7 inches tall, who also lives in Shelby County.

Minagawa, who raised four sons and a daughter on her own by peddling flowers and vegetables, died Monday afternoon, said Toshiro Tachibana, an official at the nursing home in the former mining town of Fukuchi.

"Her appetite had been declining recently and her energy fading, so the family had asked us to make her as comfortable as possible. The death was not sudden," Tachibana said.

Born on Jan. 4, 1893, Minagawa was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest person in January following the death of Emma Faust Tillman, also 114, in the United States.

Minagawa outlived all of her children except her daughter, and she had seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, according to the nursing home.

Minagawa usually spent her days at the home resting, but seldom missed a weekly recreational sing-along, staff at the home said earlier this year. She had a sweet tooth and was particularly fond of Japanese cakes filled with sweet bean paste.

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