Canada’s Oldest Person Has Died at 114 — What Ellen “Dolly” Gibb Taught Us About Longevity

Ellen "Dolly" Gibb

Photo by Sam Gary

Ellen “Dolly” Gibb, who reigned as North America’s oldest person, the 9th oldest person in the world and the 5th oldest Canadian in history, has died.

Her obituary notes that Gibb “died suddenly and peacefully at the age of 114 years old and 40 days on June 5, 2019 at Cassellholme care home in North Bay, Ont., with her daughter Sue Crozier and caregivers by her side.”

The obituary also says that loved ones credit her longevity to, “great genetics and diet, regular walks, a love of family and generosity to others.” It goes on to highlight her “sharp mind in spite of hearing challenges and more recent mobility challenges” and how “she remained serene, content, grateful and positive to the end.” Remarkably, it adds that Gibb “had no chronic ailments and only had one short stay in hospital since she gave birth to daughter Sue in 1939.”

Gibb was born in Winnipeg in 1905 and, throughout her long life, inspired both Canadians and people around the world. In 2016, Gibb completed Zoomer’s “Words of Wisdom” questionnaire, offering her own perspective on, and, advice for a long and happy life.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Put up a fuss for what you think is right. Fight back.

What advice would you give your future self?
I guess keep doing what I’m doing.

What do you know for sure?
I’m lucky at my age to be living at home. To be with [my daughter] Sue.

What have you learned?
Reading, having hobbies and walking a lot was always good for me. I can’t do too much anymore, but my advice to new seniors is to stay busy.

What will you never learn?
How to stop trying.

What was the best advice you’ve had?
Do things you enjoy. Have fun.

Did it work?
Yes. I like to gamble. I bought a lottery ticket and won so I took my son-in-law, his mom and my two daughters to Atlantic City to the casino so we could gamble more.

What are some of the things you enjoy?
My game shows. And my list of appointments and visits — it’s full.

The moment that changed everything?
Becoming a mother. I remember making little outfits for my girls. I used so many ribbons.