Canada's oldest person, Ellen 'Dolly' Gibb, dies at 114 years old

Canada's oldest person, Ellen 'Dolly' Gibb, dies at 114 years old

Ellen "Dolly" Gibb, Canada's oldest person, died Wednesday at a long term care home in North Bay, Ont. at the age of 114.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, an American-based group that tracks supercentenarians, Gibb was the oldest person in North America, and 9th oldest person in the world.

She was also the 5th oldest Canadian of all time, the group says.

Her family credits genetics, regular walks and a love of family for her longevity. In her obituary, the family said Gibb remained "serene, content, grateful and positive to the end."

The also say that Gibb had no chronic ailments, visiting a hospital for a short stay only once since the birth of her daughter Sue in 1939.

According to her obituary, Gibb was born Ellen Box in 1905 to Virginia Beauvette and John Box, a Scottish-Canadian prospector in the Klondike gold rush.

After Virginia's death when Dolly was 5 years old, John moved the family to a farm in St. Vital, now part of Winnipeg.

Dolly's five siblings also lived into their nineties, the obituary says.

Dave Crozier, Gibb's grandson, said Dolly did not reflect on her age.

"She was always just amazed," Crozier said. "When she became the oldest Canadian in 2016, then when she kind of made the list of top 50 in the world, she was just always saying 'oh no that can't be true.' There was a humility to her for sure."

Crozier said it has been touching seeing all the tributes pour in, including one from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who tweeted "I stand quiet & salute you, Dolly Gibb. Rest now in peace."

"It's pretty amazing," Crozier said. "You know to think a simple housewife from Thunder Bay [becoming] quite the celebrity in North Bay. Everybody knows Dolly."

"You know, I think she wasn't fully aware of all the national recognition she was getting. She didn't read too much in the last couple of years but she had a real resilience to her and a lot of a lot of gratitude," he said. 

"She just wasn't a complainer at all. She just kind of took all the all the challenges, the physical challenges that happened as time went on all in stride."

Gibb is survived by a daughter, 9 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great grandchildren.

For more information on arrangements, visit the McGuinty Funeral Home web site.