The longest-lived US President and other obscure facts

On October 1, James Earl Carter Jr (born October 1, 1924) becomes the first US President to celebrate his 95th birthday. On March 22 this year he became the longest-living US President when he crossed the mark set by George Herbert Walker Bush.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter#Longevity

More about George Bush Sr here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_state_funeral_of_George_H._W._Bush

He passes one more landmark on October 17, when his marriage to Rosalynn will become the longest-lasting of Presidential unions. (See update at end). They were married on July 7, 1946. They will cross the record of 73+ years of George Bush Sr (again!) which ended with Barbara’s death on April 17, 2018.

However, Rosalynn Carter (born August 18, 1927) is now 92+ and has some time to go before she can overtake Bessie Truman (97, 1885-1982) as the longest-lived First Lady. She also has to overtake others such as “Lady Bird” Johnson (94), Betty Ford (93) and Nancy Reagan (94).

There are, however two Vice-Presidents who have lived longer than any President. They are Levi Morton (96, 1824-1920 and VP to Benjamin Harrison in 1889-93), John N Garner (98, 1868-1967, VP to Franklin Roosevelt in 1933-41). Walter Mondale (91+, VP to Carter in 1977-81) is still in the fray.

An interesting thought: If either Bernie Sanders (born 8 Sep, 1941) or Joseph Biden (20 Nov, 1942) succeeds in the 2020 elections,  the winner will be the oldest person to become President surpassing Ronald Reagan’s 73+ at the start of his second term in 1985. Donald Trump (born Jun 14, 1946) is so far the oldest to become President for the first time at 70+, just edging out Reagan’s accession in 1981.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II (born April 21, 1926) continues to break longevity records as the longest-lived British monarch (93+) with the longest reign (67+ years). It only remains to be seen if Prince Philip (born 10 June, 1921) scores a century. They were married on 20 Nov 1947 and thus trail the Carters by 16 months.

As pointed out earlier here, Queen Elizabeth’s reign has seen 13 US presidents and 15 British PMs (including Harold Wilson twice). It is very likely that she will see the successors of the present incumbents.

Also: “Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world’s longest-serving female head of state, oldest living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving current head of state. ”

English cricket fans will remember major Ashes victories at home in the Coronation year (1953) as well as the Silver Jubilee (1977).

Update on Oct 18: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/18/politics/jimmy-rosalynn-carter-longest-married-presidential-couple-trnd/index.html?fbclid=IwAR0p1wv5QHBMvldYhpeLIOQyY1iZycCwu_pzGDWLMDeOph7pLxf8uEXmlhE

The durable dictator

You have heard of “Indira is India”. In the same way “Mugabe was Zimbabwe”.

He was effectively the only leader of independent Zimbabwe and did improve the conditions of the common people in the early years of his rule. Later things did not go well and he faced widespread opposition before the armed forces deposed him in 2017, after 37 years in power.

You can read an overview of his life here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-49604152

And he features in many lists of durable leaders:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest-living_state_leaders

He is only 98th on this list, as he lived to be 95 years and 195 days.

Many of those higher in this list are little-known or from little-named countries.

The longest-living well known persons here would be

Y Nakasone, PM of Japan in the 1980s, still living at 101+

Perez de Cuellar, PM of Peru and UN Secretary-General, still living at 99+

Prem Tinsulananda, PM of Thailand, lived to be 98+

The Indian duo of Gulzarilal Nanda and Morarji Desai both crossed 99.

Also see this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_state_leaders_by_age

Note Mahathir Mohammad, serving as PM of Malaysia at 94+

followed by Queen Elizabeth 2 at 93+

Robert Mugabe was President until he was deposed at 93+

However, Malawi’s Hastings Banda was President for Life until 1994 when he was deposed at 96+

In contrast, the oldest US President was Ronald Reagan who was 77+ at the end of his second term. The longest lived US President is Jimmy Carter (born Oct 1, 1924 and presently 94+. Earlier this year he overtook George Bush (senior) who lived to be 93+

 

Long-lived US Presidents

George HW Bush lived from 12 Jun 1924 to 30 Nov 2018, thus living for 94 years and 171 days. This makes him the longest lived US President, surpassing the record of Gerald Ford (93/165).

However, another predecessor Jimmy Carter was born on 1 Oct 1924 and is still living. He is 94/61 today. If he lives for about 4 months more, he will surpass Bush’s record.

While on this topic, Donald Trump (at 70/220) is the oldest to take office as President for the first time. However, Ronald Reagan was 73+ when he took office for his second term and 77+ plus when he stepped down.

If Trump is re-elected in 2020 and completes his second term, he will hold these records.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_presidents_of_the_United_States_by_age#Oldest_living_U.S._presidents

US Presidents: some notes on longevity

First, a picture taken on the occasion of Barbara Bush’s funeral. Note the caustic comments of the writer regarding the prominent absentee:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-golfed-instead-of-going-to-barbara-bushs-funeral-that-was-a-good-thing/2018/04/23/a5930974-4731-11e8-8b5a-3b1697adcc2a_story.html?utm_term=.587b697c623c

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn were not present either, though that is understandable as they are both above 90.

Barbara Bush was not, however, the longest lived First Lady. She lived to be 92 years 10 months. “Lady Bird” Johnson (94/7), Nancy Reagan (93/8) and Betty Ford (93/3) lived longer.

She was one of two First Ladies whose son became President, and the only one to see her son become President (in 2001). Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams (President in 1797-1801) passed away in 1818 before her son John Q Adams became President in 1825.

The marriage of George Bush Sr and Barbara was the longest-lasting marriage of an US President, at 73 years and 3 months. Next in line are the Carters, married in July 1946 and currently on 71 years 9 months. Rosalyn Carter (born August 1927) is now on 90 years 8 months.

George Bush senior (born June 1924) is the longest-living President at 93 years and 10 months. Next in line is Jimmy Carter (born October 1924), presently on 93 years 7 months.

Bush reached this record only in November 2017 when he crossed the record of Gerald Ford (93 years 5 months, 1913-2006). He is also the last President to have served in World War 2, in a long line going back to JFK and Eisenhower.

An odd coincidence is that 4 successive Presidents (Ford, 1974-1977; Carter, 1977-81, Reagan, 1981-89 and Bush Sr, 1989-93) all celebrated their 93rd birthdays.

Carter has lived longest after his presidential term, which ended in January 1981. He is thus holding the record at 38 years 5 months in June 2019. Next was Herbert Hoover (President in 1929-33) who survived 31 years and 8 months until his death in October 1964.

An older post on similar topics: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/present-and-past-us-presidents/

Update: The information given above was correct up to April 24, 2018. Since then, George Bush Sr passed away on Nov 30, 2018 and more recently Jimmy Carter became the longest living President, having been born on Oct 1, 1924.

If Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter are still living in October 2019, theirs will be the longest-lasting marriage of an US President at 73 years 3 months. And he will be the first US President to celebrate his 95th birthday.