Jamaica’s Oldest Man Dies At 115

Last Updated on 4 months by News Admin

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Charles Edward James, Jamaica’s oldest citizen, has died. He passed away at his Holly Hill home in Darliston, Westmoreland, on Sunday morning.

James, affectionately called ‘Maas Tata’, was reportedly born on February 3, 1905, in Darliston. Having celebrated his 115th birthday earlier this year, he was presumed to be possibly the world’s oldest citizen.

Fritz James, one of the super-centenarian’s 10 children, told The Gleaner that his father’s death has left the family a little disappointed because they were unable to verify, through authorised documents, that he was, in fact, the oldest person in Jamaica and the world.

“I can’t understand why they have no record of that. Yes, he is old, but they should have records going back even further than that,” James said, after making enquiries to verify his father’s date of birth at the Registrar General’s Department recently.

The younger James said that his father had fond memories of his childhood, including the passage of the 1912 hurricane that affected Jamaica and Cuba.

“He had told me that in the 1912 storm, he was attending school at the St John’s Anglican Church in Darliston. He would be seven years then, so something adds up there,” said the 80-year-old James.

Maas Tata’s birth certificate and a manifest were obtained from the SS David C. Shank, a ship that made a voyage to Jamaica in 1943. James would have been about 38 years old at the time.

As at October 6, the oldest known living person is Kane Tanaka of Japan, aged 117 years, 278 days. The oldest living man on record is Saturnino de la Fuente, of Spain, aged 111 years, 241 days.

Jamaica had up to recently enjoyed the historic feat of having the oldest living woman – Violet Mosse-Brown, also known as Aunt V, from Duanvale, Trelawny. She died on September 15, 2017, aged 117.

Meanwhile, businesswoman Judith Townsend said that Darliston was saddened by the passing of James.

“We were all hoping that we could spend some time with the family, who is now grieving, but times have changed now that we are living in a new normal with the coronavirus pandemic, and people are asked to observe social and physical distancing from each other,” said Townsend, 52.

She continued: “As children growing up in the community, we would have come in contact with Maas Tata every day and he was always fun to be around. I can remember being at my father’s shop. He would come there every day to play with me as a child,” she added.

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