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10 Centenarian Baby Names: Hester, Tressa & Lessie

February 14, 2016 Tiana Putric

By Tiana Putric

The following ten people have four things in common: all are women, all are American-born, all have uncommon appellations, and all are living super-centenarians. Super-centenarians, or Super-C’s, are very rare people: they have lived to be 110 years old or more. Meet ten women who have reached super-centenarian status:

Susannah Mushatt Jones (DOB July 6, 1899) “Miss Susie” doesn’t believe in smoking or alcohol but does “Believe in the Lord” and plenty of shut-eye.

Susannah, a Biblical name meaning ‘lily’, has not appeared on the U.S. Top 1000 since 1978. Rarer than Susan but more on trend, Susannah’s nicknames include Susa, Susie, Annie, and Zanna.

Delphine Gibson (DOB August 17, 1903) When Delphine celebrated her 112th birthday, the town’s mayor declared the week “Delphine Gibson Week”.

This French nature name embodies both flora, the flowering delphinium, and fauna, the highly sociable and intelligent dolphin.

Ila Jones (DOB August 21, 1903) Ila’s secret to a long life, “I just have fun.”

Ila, a variation of the Scottish appellation Isla, is the name of actress Emma Watson’s character in the 2014 film Noah.

Lessie Brown (DOB September 22, 1904) Lots of people love Lessie: five children, 24 grandchildren, 44 great-grandchildren, and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

Lessie, from ‘leas celyn’ and Celtic for ‘garden of hollies’, originally Lesslyn, is a feminine diminutive of the unisex name Leslie.

Leta Nolen (DOB February 17, 1905) Leta loves to dance and she was driving until the age of 101.

Leta, pronounced Lee-tuh, is Latin for ‘glad and joyful’ and like the names Cora, Lena, and Maya, it exudes simplicity.

Tressa Bartholomew (DOB March 30, 1905) Tressa’s words of wisdom, “I think it’s good to have a good family that are agreeable with one another. No fighting and fussing.”

While Tess and Tessa are both well-loved variants of the name Theresa, Tressa is a much rarer one.

Alelia Murphy (DOB July 6, 1905) Alelia’s motto is “There’s no time to sleep . . . sleep when you’re dead!”

Alelia, also spelt A’Lelia, is a variation of the graceful name Eulalia and means ‘well spoken’. Alelia is pronounced ‘ah-leel-ya’ and can be shortened to Allie, Eli, or Lia.

Armida Brunson Sholar (DOB August 9, 1905) Armida enjoys a variety of things: musical performances, Bingo, Swiss cake rolls, and watching television.

Some believe the name Armida, meaning ‘warrior’, emerged from Italian poet Torquato Tasso’s poem Jerusalem Delivered. In his poem Armida is an enchantress who possesses immense power and beauty.

Hester Ford (DOB August 15, 1905) Hester is the mother of 12 children.

Hester is Persian for ‘star’ and is an anagram of Esther. Endearing nicknames for Hester include Hettie and Ettie. The rise in -er ending names like Asher, Harper, and Piper may lead to the return of Hester.

Mamie Johnson (DOB Jan 13, 1906) Mamie walks everywhere or takes the bus; in fact, she has never driven a car.

Mamie is a vintage appellation and a diminutive of Mary and Margaret, long associated with First Lady Eisenhower and now with one of Meryl Streep’s actress daughters, Mamie Gummer (born MAry Willa). Mamie fell from the U.S. Top 1000 long ago but the rise of vintage nicknames like Sadie, Maisie, and Hattie may bring Mamie back.

Ollie Roberts (DOB Jan 17, 1906) Ollie credits her long life to two things: hard work and a deep faith in God.

Ollie is a unisex diminutive of Olivia, Olive, and Olive, all of which have roots in the lovely word ‘oliva’, Latin for olive tree.

 

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Tiana Putric


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