Get to know the oldest East Texan, and oldest American

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - The Gerontology Research Group released the news, Tuesday--Eunice Sanborn is now the oldest person in the United States.

Sanborn spent many of her years making a home for her family in Jacksonville.

"She'll tell you, [her birthday is] July 20, 1895," said David French.  He's been caring for Sanborn for years.

That would make Sanborn 114 years old - one year older than the research group reports.  French said Eunice remembers her mother writing the July 20, 1895 date in a family Bible.  The Bible has been misplaced.  But, census papers from 1900 show "Aunt Eunice's" birthday as July 20, 1896.

Give or take a year, it's still an amazing achievement.

"We believe that she's still here because God has a use for her," said French.  "She's still a witness."

French said he grew up down the street from Sanborn's Jacksonville home.  They are not biologically related, but he said she is as close as any family member.

"She always tells people I'm the son she never had."

French and his family have been looking after Aunt Eunice for years now. He said the news has not really sunk in yet.

He recalled speaking to "Aunt Eunice" about her upcoming birthday.  "'You'll be 114,' and she will say something similar to, 'think of that'."

These days, Sanborn spends most of her time doing just that: thinking and resting inside her Jacksonville home, under 24 hour care.

Sanborn was married three times.  Her first husband died in a car accident, and the others died from health complications.

We found out Sanborn and her second husband built the Old Lookout in Jacksonville.  The old pool and amphitheater are still there today.

"I think she's going to outlive all of us," said Christine Bunn.

Bunn, 90, has been a close friend and Sanborn's neighbor for at least half a century.

"Being with her was just fun because everyday was different," she said.

"She's always said, 'Honey, do what's right and everything will work out.'"

"When you've got your health in the Lord, you've got everything," French said.

Sanborn had one daughter who died at the age of 89 in 2005.

She is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.  Her friends are planning to throw her a 114th birthday party this July.

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