DEWITT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Irene Dunham’s family says she lived a storied life. Now, that book has its final chapter.
Multiple sources, including the Lansing State Journal, are reporting that Michigan’s oldest resident died over the weekend at 114 years old.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, Dunham was the 10th-oldest person in the world, the third oldest in the United States, and one of only 14 confirmed supercentenarians in the world.
The Lansing State Journal reports she was born on Dec. 16, 1907, and grew up on her family farm outside of Bath Township.
Even more astounding than her long life is how many close calls she survived.
COVID-19 wasn’t Dunham’s first pandemic, she fell ill during the 1918 flu pandemic but recovered. She was also a student at the Bath Consolidated School when a man detonated 1,000 pounds of dynamite in the school’s basement.
According to the Journal, Dunham stayed home sick that day with a sore throat. The blast on May 18, 1927, killed 38 students and six adults. Dozens more were injured, including Dunham’s brother. Because of the blast, the graduation ceremony was canceled that year. Dunham received her diploma 50 years later during a special ceremony along with the Class of 1977.
Between the Great Depression, two World Wars, two pandemics, colon cancer may have come the closest to taking her down. Her family told the Journal that doctors didn’t expect her to survive.
Dunham’s husband died in 1972. She lived on her own in her Lansing home until she moved into an assisted living facility in Dewitt Township in 2020.
Just days before her death, Dunham met September Rambo, her great-great-great granddaughter, born on April 27.