8 Inspirational Older People

1Olive Riley (108-year-old): World’s Oldest Blogger

Believed to have been the world’s oldest blogger, australian woman Olive Rileybegan her blog The Life of Riley in February 2007 at the age of 107 and made her final post on 26 June 2008 from a nursing home in Woy Woy, New South Wales, complaining of a cough about two weeks before she died at the age of 108. She had posted over 70 entries, as well as several video posts on YouTube. Her blog (or “blob” as she called it) was inspired by her experience with documentary filmmaker Michael Rubbo who, in 2005, made a documentary about her titled All About Olive.
NOTE: our reader Eric wrote us to explain an even older blogger was discovered after Olive’s death.

2Buster Martin (102-year-old): UK’s Oldest Employee and Marathon Runner

Pierre Jean “Buster” Martin claims to be the United Kingdom’s oldest employee at the age of 102. Martin works for a well-known plumbing company in southeast London as a van cleaner, and notably refused to take a day off on the day he celebrated his 100th birthday.But he is also a marathon runner. After walking the 10 km (6 miles) distance of the Great Capital Run in 2 hours 22 minutes and the Roding Valley Half Marathon in 5 hours 13 minutes, Martin was entered for the 2008 London Marathon. According to press reports, he walked the 26 mile course in approximately 10 hours.

If the claims about his age are true, he could be the oldest recorded marathon participant in the world. However, officials of the Guinness World Records organization said that they did not consider Martin eligible for the record because he had never provided proof is his age.

3Winifred Pristell (70-year-old): Holds two World Records in Powerlifting

Meet Winifred Pristell, 70 years old. This great-grandma they call “Heavy Metal” is a competitive weightlifter with two world records and aspirations for more.Winifred first took up the sport in her late 40’s due to her struggles with her weight. When she turned 60 she started to lift competitively in powerlifting meets. At 68, she set world records for her age in the bench press at 176.2 pounds and 270 pounds in the deadlift.

Even though she has been struggling lately with arthritis and joint issues, at 70 Winifred still works out three days a week.

4Jennifer Figge (56-year-old): First Woman to Swim the Atlantic

56-year-old Jennifer Figge pressed her toes into the Caribbean sand, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land this week for the first time in almost a month.Reaching a beach in Trinidad, she became the first woman on record to swim across the Atlantic Ocean –a dream she’d had since the early 1960s, when a stormy trans-Atlantic flight got her thinking she could don a life vest and swim the rest of the way if needed.

The 56-year-old left the Cape Verde Islands off Africa’s western coast on Jan. 12, battling waves of up to 30 feet (9 meters) and strong winds.She had originally planned to swim the Bahamas, but inclement weather forced her to veer 1,000 miles (1,610 kms) off course to Trinidad.

5The Great Omani (92-year-old): World’s Oldest Escapologist

Ron Cunningham, who died in 2007 at the age of 92, was an escapologist and end-of the-pier artist specializing in feats such as eating light bulbs and removing a straitjacket while hanging upside down with his trousers on fire.

To impress audiences he put himself in great danger during many of his stunts using fire, water and glass at his local pub the Bedford Tavern in Brighton. It was here where he performed his last stunt in 2005. This was the escape out of handcuffs with both arms on fire with lighter fluid.He died in Brighton, East Sussex after a whisky and a cigar at his home on October 15, 2007. His last request was for a trapdoor in the hearse at his funeral. He wrote a short poem, which was read at the occasion: “They lay the Great Omani in his box / They have done it up with nails not locks / But at his funeral do not despair / Chances are he won’t be there.”

6Arthur Winston (100-year-old): Worked for 72 years at the same company and only took one day off

A Los Angeles Metro employee for 72 years, Arthur Winston (1906 – 2006) was known for being honored as the “Employee of the Century” because he was never late to work and only took one day off during his entire career, that being for his wife’s funeral in 1988. He retired at age 100.

7Bernie Marks (78-year-old): Oldest Man to have a Bar Mitzvah

It took Holocaust survivor Bernie Marks over 60 years to realize his father’s and grandfathers’ dreams, but he finally honored them – and Jews worldwide – by having a bar mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks the symbolic passage to manhood.

When he was 13, he was living in a Jewish ghetto set up by Germans in German-occupied Poland under Nazi rule. Later, his family was sent to Auschwitz where he last saw his mother and brother. Marks and his father were sent to a labor camp until they were liberated by US forces in 1945.So now, 66 years later, in a strong, melodic voice that moved some at Sacramento Congregation B’nai Israel to tears, Marks chanted the Hebrew passages with his daughters and grandchildren looking on.

8Brownie Mary (70-year-old): Medical Cannabis Activist

Popularly known as “Brownie Mary”, Mary Jane Rathbun (1923 – 1999) was an American hospital volunteer who became internationally known as a medical cannabis activist. Brownie Mary was famous for baking and distributing “Alice B. Toklas brownies” and volunteering in the AIDS ward of San Francisco General Hospital. She was active in efforts to legalize cannabis use for people with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and other diseases.In 1992, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors declared August 25 “Brownie Mary Day.”

“My kids [people with AIDS and cancer] need this and I’m ready to go to jail for my principles… I’m not going to cut any deals with them. If I go to jail, I go to jail,” she once said.

She was named a “Living Saint” in 1994 at the San Francisco Saints Alive Benefit. In 1997 the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence dubbed her “Saint Brownie Fucking Mary” at Mary’s request as she was a lifelong atheist. Mary was also included in the Sisters’ Nuns of the Above AIDS Memorial Quilt for her work with and advocating for people with AIDS.Brownie Mary died of a heart attack at a Laguna Honda nursing home for the poor at age 77.