Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ridley-Thomas Celebrates 115th Birthday of Local Super Centenarian Gertrude Baines



                                          Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

                                                                                 L.A. County Board of Supervisors, 2nd District



April 7, 2009                                                                                                                            Contact:          Aurelio Rojas       James Bolden

                                                                                                                                                                               213-974-222        213-200-5314


Ridley-Thomas Celebrates 115th Birthday

of Local Super Centenarian Gertrude Baines


At age 115, Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed the Second District resident is the world’s oldest person


     LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on Monday visited the Western Convalescent Home in Southwest Los Angeles to celebrate the 115th birthday of Gertrude Baines, the world’s oldest person, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.


      During a program filled with musical tributes and well wishes, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas beamed with pride that Ms. Baines – born April 6, 1894 – is a resident of the Second District.


 “Gertrude Baines is a beacon in our community, who at 115 has demonstrated perseverance in the truest sense of the word,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.


The daughter of a man born into slavery and granddaughter of former slaves, Ms. Baines has lived through 21 presidents and seven U.S. wars.


Last November, she proudly cast her vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The only other time she voted in a U.S. election was for President John F. Kennedy.


Aside from arthritis and an inability to walk, Ms. Baines is relatively healthy and says she has never been seriously sick day in her life.  Born in Shellman, Georgia, she is the third daughter of Jordan and Amelia "Amy" (Daniel) Baines, who were married in Terrell County Georgia, on January 1, 1887. 


Ms. Baines married Sam Conly at a "very young age" and in 1909 gave birth to a daughter, Annabelle, who died of typhoid fever at age 18.


She later moved to Ohio, where she worked as a maid at Ohio State University, before relocating to California.  She lived on her own until she was 105-years-old and now lives at the Western Convalescent Home in the West Adams area.


When asked what she credited to her longevity, Ms. Baines answered: "God. Ask him... I took good care of myself, the way he wanted me to."


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