fb-pixel Skip to main content

Lynn woman celebrates her 118th birthday, family says

Lynn, MA - 1/8/20 - Dorrisile Dervis, who recently celebrated her 118th birthday poses for a portrait at her home in Lynn. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Reporter: 	
Topic:
Lynn, MA - 1/8/20 - Dorrisile Dervis, who recently celebrated her 118th birthday poses for a portrait at her home in Lynn. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Reporter: Topic: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe

Dorrisile Dervis recently celebrated her 118th birthday, according to her family.

Her granddaughter, Angelet Dorvilas-Gedeon, said they threw a birthday party for her at Hibernian Hall in Lynn on Dec. 28 to mark the occasion.

“It was great," said Dorvilas-Gedeon. "It was awesome.”

Dorvilas-Gedeon, 42, said her grandmother was born in Haiti on Christmas Day in 1901. She grew up in Jean-Rabel, a rural area in northwest Haiti. “She lived there most of her life," she said.

But because Dervis doesn’t have her original birth certificate, she’s not eligible to hold the title of oldest living person. That record currently belongs to Kane Tanaka of Fukuoka, Japan, who turned 117 years old on Jan. 2, according to the Guinness World Records website.

Advertisement



Even though she doesn’t have official documentation to prove her age, Dervis has received her share of media attention. In June 2017, when she was living in Florida, Dervis was featured in a public radio news story under the headline “Is This Broward Woman The Oldest Person In America? Definitely Maybe.” In March 2018 The Lynn Daily Item reported that Dervis was issued an official citation from the city of Lynn in recognition of her 116th birthday. The Item also ran a story about her most recent birthday.

Dervis also received another official citation from the city in honor of her 118th birthday.

A certificate from the Mayor's office recognizes Dorrisile Dervis for celebrating her 118th birthday.
A certificate from the Mayor's office recognizes Dorrisile Dervis for celebrating her 118th birthday. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe

Despite her advanced age, Dervis is in good health and only goes to the doctor for check-ups, according to Dorvilas-Gedeon.

“She’s doing wonderful," she said. "She has no sickness at all. No sickness whatsoever. She’s 100 percent healthy.”

Dervis, who speaks Creole, isn’t afraid to express her opinions, said Dorvilas-Gedeon.

“She has a mouth," said Dorvilas-Gedeon. "She has a fresh mouth. We just laugh.”

As the mother of 10 children, Dervis is now the matriarch of a large brood that includes many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Advertisement



Dorvilas-Gedeon said her family loves spending time with Dervis, whom they call “Gran Dor."

“We enjoy every single time with her," she said. “The kids love her. They’re proud of her.”

“What can you say? It’s a blessing," she said. "She is special.”




Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.