Supercentenarian is believed to be the oldest living male in America
by Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (August 25, 2019) – The average life span in the U.S. is 78.6 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some Americans don’t make it that long. Others pass up that number and continue to have several long, healthy years. However, it’s still a rare thing to make it to triple digits. About 1 in 6,000 or 0.0173% live to be 100.
Today, August 25, in Lansing, a man has outlasted that average life span by 34 years: CP Crawford turned 112. He enjoyed an August 23 celebration at Tri-State Nursing Home, where he has resided for several years.
He is the oldest living resident of Lansing.
The website gerontology.wikia.org also shows him as the oldest living male not just in Illinois, but in the country, and the second oldest supercentenarian in the state (a woman by the name of Louise Scaaf, born in Germany and currently residing in Illinois, was born October 16, 1906, it says). A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110. According to that site, Crawford is the 17th oldest living person in the United States.
Crawford was born August 25, 1907, in Jackson, Mississippi, to John and Mattie Crawford. He never had the opportunity to attend school. His mother died when he was an infant, and he and his five siblings were separated and raised by aunts and uncles.
Around age 4, Crawford began working in the Mississippi cotton fields. At 13 he became a dishwasher and later worked at a South Land Oil refinery and then for Illinois Central Railroad, which is what brought him to the Chicago area. He married three times during his life and raised six children. In 2015, Thornton Fractional South High School awarded him an honorary high school diploma.
A super celebration
Joining Crawford in celebrating were residents and staff from the nursing home, Dolton Trustee and community activist Andrew Holmes, and several Village employees, including Lansing Village Clerk Vivian Payne, Lansing Police Chief Dennis Murrin, Lansing Fire Chief Chad Kooyenga, Lansing Building Commissioner Zoran Savic, Lansing Trustees Mike Fish, Brian Hardy, and Maureen Perovich, and Bill Benne from the Board of Directors of the Lansing Historical Society.
Tri-State’s Activity Director, Sheila Huff, said she’s hosted parties for a handful of over-100 residents in the eight years she has worked there. She and her activity aide, Jaquita Philllips, set up a table with cupcakes and decorated with a sign and balloons. Crawford and the crowd were entertained by a tap-dancer to the tunes “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and “Tequila.” Crawford enjoyed a cupcake with a can of cherry Pepsi. “May God Bless You All,” he said to those celebrating with him.
The Lansing Police Department gave Crawford a hat embroidered with “LPD” on it and a department patch. Huff presented him with a framed letter sent by State Representative Marcus Evans in recognition of Crawford’s birthday. Holmes also wished him well and gave him a hat from Club 100, an organization that Holmes is executive director of that celebrates those age 100 and older. There’s also a Club 99 for those who reach age 99.
“In May we send each member to get picked up in their own limo with their family to go to a red carpet event at the Salvation Army in Chicago,” said Holmes. Members of Club 100 and Club 99 come from Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Holmes said that at this year’s event, they recognized twenty-nine 99 year olds and thirty-six 100-year-olds. Crawford is the oldest member. The oldest female in the club is a Chicago resident who is 108.
Camera crews from WGN-TV and ABC7 were at the party to get footage for a later broadcast.
If you’re wondering what CP Crawford’s secret is to living such a long life, he has a simple four-word answer: “Mind your own business.”