Thelma Sutcliffe of Nebraska Becomes the Oldest Living American at 114 Years Old

Jené Liebenberg
Apr 30, 2021
10:30 A.M.
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Omahan Thelma Sutcliffe may be the oldest American alive, but it isn't a title that she is too worried about. Sutcliff is more concerned with having life return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Omahan resident Thelma Sutcliffe is officially the oldest living American at 114-years-old. She is living in an assisted living facility in the Nebraskan community called Brighton Gardens. 

Sutcliffe holds the number one position in the USA and is the seventh oldest person in the world. Since her birth on October 1, 1906, she has seen many historical events unfold. 

An older couple holding hands across a table. | Source: Pexels/ Tom Leishman



Sutcliffe isn't in the least concerned about reaching the new milestone of oldest living American but is rather worried about when she can join her friends around the dinner table again. 

The 114-year-old has been taking her meals alone in an effort to stick to the COVID-19 regulations and protect the elderly, but Sutcliffe is starved for some company, Her friend Luella Mason shared

“She’s just looking forward to the day that I can finally eat with her in the dining room again.”



To ensure that Sutcliffe still has a regular visitor, Mason schedules visitation times with Brighton Gardens, the facility where Sutcliffe is living. She has to call 24 hours ahead of time. 

Ford knew a life of labor as she spent her childhood picking cotton, plowing fields, and canning vegetables.

The elderly lady's friend revealed that although she struggles with her sight and hearing, her mind is still sharp. Sutcliffe has received her COVID-19 vaccinations to further protect her from the virus. 



The secret behind Sutcliffe's longevity seems to be her refusal to not worry unnecessarily. Having lived through two World Wars, the 1918 flu pandemic and now the COVID-19 pandemic, Sutcliffe knows what is important. 

Sutcliffe outlived her husband, Bill, whom she married in 1924. Unfortunately, Bill passed away in the 1970s, and the couple never had any children. Despite her loss, Sutcliffe chooses to live stress-free, as Mason revealed

"She'll say that to this day. Don't worry. She has a philosophy of not worrying."



Sutcliffe moved up to hold the title as the oldest living American following the death of Hester Ford, who lived to see 116 years. She passed away on April 15.

Ford's legacy is continued through her 12 children, 48 grandchildren, and more than 200 great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren who were all greatly touched through her. 


Ford knew a life of labor as she spent her childhood picking cotton, plowing fields, and canning vegetables before she decided to make the permanent move to Charlotte, North Carolina. 

She lived independently without assistance until the age of 108, when she fell out of the bath tab and bruised her ribs. Her family then decided to move her into an assisted living home, where she passed away eight years later.