James “Doc” Sisnett, the second oldest man in the world, died Thursday, and the world lost a living historian who saw many of the major changes during the 20th century.
Sisnett was born Feb. 22, 1900, and at 113 years, was one of the few people alive who remembered the beginning of World War I and World War II. He was a toddler when Orville Wright lifted off the ground, and he was witness to many major historical events.
The centenarian lived in Barbados, and was remembered by his family as a hard-working father who stressed education
, according to the Nation News. Sisnett’s belief in learning apparently was heard by his 11 children, who excelled in their professions, and the family has seven doctors in three generations and several teachers.
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Sisnett was trained as a blacksmith and worked as a sugar factory engineer, retiring in 1970, the Nation News reported. He’s considered an important person in Barbados, where he had the nickname of “Grandpa.” Many people interviewed him about his longevity in the past decade
, including a radio interview with Dr. Alfred Sparman, who talked with Sisnett and his daughter.
In that interview, Dr. Sparman asked what enabled Sisnett to live to 112, and Sisnett answered, “God has helped me.” Dr. Sparman laughed and pointed out that Sisnett also drank a little bit of brandy every night.
Another of Sisnett’s sons, Lindsay, told the Nation News that he remembered his father as a man who “could always give you a good word of advice” and whom “you could always turn because you knew he would tell you something wise.”
Sisnett was the second oldest man living in the Western Hemisphere, and his age was validated by the Gerontology Research Group
. GRG is a private organization that verifies ages of centenarians, according to a CNN article on Sisnett, which also said the oldest living person in the world is Jiroemon Kimura of Japan. He turned 116 in April.
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