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Iowa Woman is the New Oldest Person in World

Johnston's Dina Manfredini turned 115 years old in April. She's not just the oldest person in Iowa, but the oldest in the United States and the world.

Dina Manfredini has seen a lot of history: She was born before the Wright Brother's fateful flight, she was 15 years old when the Titanic sank.

As of Tuesday, Manfredini became the oldest living person in the world.

Manfredini, who is 115 years old and lives in Johnston, became the oldest person on the planet after the Monroe Georgia Patch reported the family of the world's oldest woman, , confirmed she died Tuesday.

This spring, Manfredini's family threw a birhtday party in her honor at the Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, IA, according to WHO TV.

Manfredini, who was born on April 4, 1897, in Italy, is healthy and strong according to an August 2011 article by the Diocese of Des Moines.

Having lived during a portion of three centuries, Manfredini has surely seen much in her lifetime.

She lived through World War I in Europe, before moving to the United States in 1920.

She went to work in the 1940s at a plant in Ankney, IA to support her family throughout World War II and the Great Depression.

Today, according to the Diocese article, Manfredini's hearing isn't very good but she can move around her retirement community with the help of a walker.

A Facebook page for Manfredini said she is also the oldest living Italian person in the world.

She moved to Des Moines in 1920 to be with her husband, Riccardo Manfredini, who died in 1965, according to the Diocese's article.

The couple raised four children.

From the Diocese article:

Dina’s husband worked in the city’s coal mines until hurting his back. Then she went to work to make ends meet. As the nation prepared for World War II, Dina worked at the Des Moines Ordnance Plant in Ankeny,  where 2 million rounds of ammunition were produced a day. She also worked at Swift cracking eggs that would be turned into powdered eggs for U.S. soldiers. She also cleaned houses until she was 90, lying about her age so people wouldn’t think she was too old to work.

In 1939, Dina and her husband bought a little bungalow on 1st Street in Valley Junction. Riccardo died in 1965 and Dina continued to live there until moving into the Martina Place Assisted Living Residence at the Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston about four years ago when she was 110. These days, she spends much of her day sleeping.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Iowa had 793 residents over the age of 100, including Manfredini.

In the 2010 Census there were 53,365 centenarians, people 100 and older, living in the United States.

Editor's note: This article originally was published by Johnston Patch in Johnston IA.

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