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U.S. WWI Vet dies at 112 yrs - lived on sausages!


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Calif. man, 112, thrived on sausage-and waffle diet

Researcher says supercentenarian's sturdy health probably linked to genetics

'All of his organs were extremely youthful,' he says after autopsy

Sep. 1, 2006. 04:58 PM


LOS ANGELES — George Johnson, considered California's oldest living person at 112 and the state's last surviving First World War veteran, had experts shaking their heads over his junk food diet.

"He had terrible, bad habits. He had a diet largely of sausages and waffles," Dr. Stephen Coles, founder of the Gerontology Research Group at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Friday.

The 5-foot-7, 140-pound Johnson died of pneumonia Wednesday at his Richmond home in Northern California.

"A lot of people think or imagine that your good habits and bad habits contribute to your longevity," Coles said. "But we often find it is in the genes rather than lifestyle."

Johnson, who was blind and living alone until his 110th birthday when a caregiver began helping him, built his own house by hand in 1935. He got around using a walker in recent years.

Johnson was the only living Californian considered a ``supercentenarian," a designation for those ages 110 or older, Coles said. His group is now in the process of validating a Los Angeles candidate who claims to be 112 years old.

Coles participated in an autopsy Thursday that was designed to study Johnson's health.

"All of his organs were extremely youthful. They could have been the organs of someone who was 50 or 60, not 112. Clearly his genes had some secrets," Coles said.

"Everything in his body that we looked at was clean as a whistle, except for his lungs with the pneumonia," Coles said. "He had no heart disease, he had no cancer, no diabetes and no Alzheimer's.

"This is a mysterious case that someone could be so healthy from a pathology point of view and that there is no obvious cause of death."

The family was in favour of an autopsy. Relatives said Johnson wanted them to allow it if it would help science.

Born May 1, 1894, Johnson's father managed the Baltimore and Ohio Railway station in Philadelphia.

Johnson was working in 1917 as a mail sorter for the U.S. Post Office when he was drafted into the army. The war ended a year later, and he never served in combat.

Two years later, he and his wife moved to Northern California.

"It was a great adventure in those days. We were young and wanted the experience," Johnson said in a March interview with the Contra Costa Times.

The couple settled in Fresno, Calif., and remained there until 1935, when they bought property in Richmond. They used lumber salvaged from dismantled buildings to build their house.

During Second World War, Johnson worked at the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond and later managed the heating plant at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland.

He remained in good health and continued driving until he was 102, when his vision began to fail.

Johnson's wife died in 1992 at the age of 92. The couple had no children.

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I shall clearly have to adjust my diet - whonder what sort of sausages they were? probably franks

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RIP , George.

Only yesterday forum member 230 was in my shop buying lots of sausages, pork and leek iirc.

Just steer clear of Te**os and Wai***se and buy from your butcher. :D


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buy from your butcher. :D

I like this idea of sausages as health food. Paul Guthrie's been recommending it on here for years and I never took him seriously.

Just wish my local butcher made decent ones - but he doesnt. So I get mine from the farmers market. Yet another item I no longer buy at supermarkets!

But when they report old George lived on sausages and waffles, would this be together?


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Sausages & Pancakes used to go down great together @ Southend's Pancake House when I was @ college.

What price "You Are What You Eat" on TV now,

A diet of "L*ps & Ar*****s" seems to be the one to keep you healthy into Centigenarianship.

Luvverly Grub!

To paraphrase Sheargal Farkey:~"A Good Butcher is Hard to Find!"{there's a couple in the 'Hood~Long may they reign}

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Evening all.

Interested with the genetic side of this,and the sausage eating diet.

Waffles,i love,but these guys that live to such an unbelievable age definitely seem to have genetics on their side.

Can you imagine what these guys have been through,especially at 112,what with work,family and history!?.

Noticed the big thing was that he didn't have kids,which i know from experiance can knock years of your life,but having said that there are loads of people that have lived to over 100 and have loads of kids.

Guy in the news yesterday,called Buster i believe,turned up for work on his 100th birthday.

Served in the Army and Navy for 30 odd years,and worked the London markets for the rest of the time,and somehow managed to find the time to fit in 17 children as well?.

Attributes his long life to a pint of bitter,a day(depending on which one he buys,probably under the Goverment recommendation of 4 units a day,John Smiths smooth being 1.8 Units a pint,but i bet it ain't John's best,and i bet it ain't a pint a day),and going to work and earning everyday.

Reminded me of a story a Normandy Vet told me 20 years ago,of an old chap he knew that smoked 20 fags and drank 3 pints of Guiness a day.

He went to the doctors,at age 98,not feeling well,and the Doctor told him that the fags and drinking were killing him!!.

He told him to cut down,and he did,only doing a pint of Guiness a day,and 10 fags.

He died,not long before his 99th Birthday.

The amazing thing is that Mr Johnson asked for an Autopsy after his death,so people could learn why he had lived as long as he did.

Thank you Mr Johson,and thanks for your life,and RIP.

All the best,and i am off for some of Britans finest Pork Saucisson.


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quote: "it is in the genes rather than lifestyle."

and quote: "Johnson's wife died in 1992 at the age of 92. The couple had no children."

Thats that then!

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