The world’s oldest employees just can’t stop working

The world's oldest employees

By Natalie Marchant, Lovemoney

While most of us expect to retire at some point in our 60s or 70s, some people keep working well beyond the average retirement age. Whether it's to serve their country, through a sense of duty, or to relieve the boredom.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86

The focus of the recent Hollywood film On the Basis of Sex, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the US since 1993. Born in Brooklyn in 1933, the 86-year-old was the second woman to serve on the country's highest court and last summer said she intended to keep doing so for another five years. She has survived both colon and pancreatic cancer and recently returned to the bench after having two cancerous nodules removed from her left lung. 

Irene Grice, 90

UK supermarket worker Irene Grice, 90, refused to retire at 60 as she didn't earn enough to pay into her pension pot. She started working as a cleaner at Morrisons supermarket in Solihull at the age of 66, but has since moved to the bakery section. Around the same time, Mrs Grice also started working at the local council. Having recently faced a broken hip and skin cancer, she told the Birmingham Mail: "The help of God and sheer determination and willpower has kept me going."

Beji Caid Essebsi, 92

Tunisia's president Beji Caid Essebsi, 92, won the country's first free presidential election back in 2014. Known by Tunisians as the "Old Wolf" thanks to a political career that started back in 1941, he has previously served as minister of foreign affairs and as prime minister of the transitional government after the 2011 revolution. However, Mr Essebsi recently announced he does not plan to run in the next elections in November, saying it was time "to open the door to the youth".

The Queen of the United Kingdom, 92

Unlike her husband Prince Philip, the 92-year-old Queen has yet to officially retire from royal duties. In 2012, Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee having become Queen in 1952. She does not intend to abdicate although her son Prince Charles, himself 70, is taking on more of her duties as she carries out fewer public engagements. In 2007, the Queen surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the oldest British monarch.

Mahathir Mohamad, 93

Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, 93, pipped the Queen to the post of oldest head of state in the world when he was sworn in as the country's seventh PM last year. But it wasn't the first time he'd held the post, having already served as the fourth Malaysian PM between 1981 and 2003. Asked about his age last year, Mr Mahathir acknowledged that he seemed to age a "little bit slower than most people", adding he could still hear and answer questions.

Eugene O’Sullivan, 94

Irish sheep drover Eugene O'Sullivan, 94, has worked at Kenmare Co-op Mart, Co Kerry, for about 15 years and shows little sign of stopping. He started his professional life as a farm laborer, before going on to become a wool-packer, and nowadays still guides sheep in and out of the sales ring at the mart. Speaking to the Irish Examiner on his 90th birthday, Mr O'Sullivan said: "Of course, I’ll keep going. Sit down in a chair is it? Anyone who ever sat in a chair failed and just died."

Helga Weyhe, 96

Helga Weyhe, 96, is the third generation to run her family's beloved bookshop in the German town of Salzwedel. She started working in the shop in 1944 and still staffs it six days a week. But the shop itself has been here since 1840 and its shelves were built during the 1880s, when Otto von Bismarck ruled what is now Germany. She told AFP: "I had lots of dreams when I was young but they always involved books."

Dr Christian Chenay, 97

Dr Christian Chenay, 97, is France's oldest practicing GP. Dr Chenay still holds a clinic two days a week in Chevilly-Larue, a Parisian suburb with scarce access to doctors, and worked with his son for 37 years, until the latter retired at the age of 66 after his wife died. He's only recently thought about retiring and won't be working this upcoming winter. But he told The Connexxion it won't be that easy to replace him, saying: “Who would be crazy enough to take my job?”

Jack B Weinstein, 97

Jack Bertrand Weinstein, 97, is a US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Born in 1921, he served as a lieutenant in the US Navy during the Second World War and was nominated to the federal court by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1967. Judge Weinstein has also worked as a lecturer and professor at Columbia University. Made a senior judge in 1993, he is known for his preference of appearing in court wearing business suits instead of judicial robes. 

Tao Porchon Lynch, 100

Tao Porchon Lynch, 100, is the world's oldest yoga teacher, as recognized by the Guinness World Records. Born in 1918, she was raised by her uncle in southern India, where she discovered yoga at the age of eight. After working as an actress in the UK, France and the US and serving in the French Resistance, she founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga in 1982 and has since taught yoga across the world. Her mantra is "smile at the world and it will smile back at you".

Dagny Carlsson, 106

Swedish blogger Dagny Carlsson, 106, started blogging after going on a computer course at the age of 99 and now has followers all over the world. Thought to be the world's oldest blogger, she puts her longevity down to good genes and a curiosity for life. Late last year she was hit by car in Stockholm, but was soon back at the keyboard. Ms Carlsson said one problem with blogging is that if she doesn't post something each day, her followers think she's died.

Dr Bill Frankland, 107

Dr Bill Frankland, 107, is said to be Britain's oldest doctor. Born in 1912, a month before the Titanic went down, he qualified a decade before the birth of the NHS, was held by the Japanese during the Second World War, and once treated Saddam Hussein. The allergist now has a clinic in St Mary's Hospital, in west London, named after him and has no plans to fully retire. He recently told the i newspaper: “Between the ages of 100 and 105, I produced four academic papers, two entirely by myself."

Anthony Mancinelli, 108

At the handsome age of 108, Anthony Mancinelli has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as being the world's oldest practicing barber. Born in Italy in 1911, he came to New York when he was eight and started to learn the tools of the trade at the age of 11. By 12, he was a full-fledged barber. Speaking to US radio station WAMC, Mr Mancinelli said: “God has given me a long life. I don't know why. Must be a reason. I appreciate it."


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Home Magazine: The world’s oldest employees just can’t stop working
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