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

Long-lived leaders

With the election of 92-year old Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister of Malaysia, one has to look closely at the records to see if this is some kind of a new achievement. This is what Wikipedia has to say:

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

The first table shows Mahathir as the oldest currently serving leader, at 92 years 308 days as of 22/05/2018. He is followed closely by Queen Elizabeth II (not elected, but still….) at 92/23. She is already the oldest British monarch and the one with the oldest reign (since Feb 6, 1952). It may be noted that her mother lived to be over 101. Prince Philip (96+, born June 1921) is currently the oldest consort of a British monarch. Queen Elizabeth’s mother ceased to be a consort in 1952, when she was 52.

There are a few lesser-known names in the top 10, apart from Emperor Akihito (94+, born Dec 1933). It was announced that he would abdicate in April 2019.

The second table deals with “10 oldest ever serving state leaders”. Prominent names here include Malawi’s Hastings Banda (96+ before being removed), Thailand’s Prem Tinsulanonda (also 96+ and still living), Robert Mugabe (93+ before being removed) and Mahathir at 92+.

The third table deals with the longest lived state leaders. Many lesser known persons here, headed by a PM of Cambodia who lived to be 103+.

The fourth table deals with the oldest state leader who is still living. The leader here is a former PM of Vietnam who is now 101+. Other better-known names here include Japan’s former PM Nakasone (almost 100), Perez de Cuellar (Secretary-General of the UN and later PM of Peru) at 98+ and Thailand’s Tinsulanonda at 97+.

Next it goes to youngest serving leaders (which include Kim Jong-Un at 35+, the King of Bhutan (38+) and Leo Varadkar (39+). Not Justin Trudeau who is 47+.

The youngest leaders at the time they took office are almost all royals, some of whom (like King Fuad of Egypt and King Gyanendra of Nepal) who became rulers when they were less than 5 years old. There is one representative from a family of dictators, “Baby Doc” Duvalier of Haiti who became President at 19+.

No representative from India? You have to search for other criteria. More later.