HARLINGEN — Mabel Nesmith has more than 100 good reasons why she was featured on Channel 9 News in Denver and in the Denver Post twice in her lifetime.
The poised and well-groomed lady, as her relatives like to describe her, turned 110 in February and is now ranked the 207th oldest person in the world, according to the website Gerontology Wiki, an encyclopedia about the study of human aging and longevity.
Her record-setting birthday was such a sensation in Denver that she was recognized with a feature story in the local newspaper and a story on broadcast news.
And it wasn’t her first time making headlines. Mabel, a former Harlingen resident, was also featured on the news when she turned 100 years old.
On both occasions, she danced to her favorite song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”
“She always said a woman should never leave the house without being fully put together because you never know who you might run into,” said her niece Jan Nesmith.
“It’s a very rare accomplishment. She outlived her sister and her father, who only got to his late 80s. I think one of my aunts will get to her age as well,” Jan said.
According to Mabel’s son Gary, she was born in 1909 in Strawn, Texas, a small town close to Forth Worth.
Mabel then moved to Harlingen in 1919 and lived most of her life in the Rio Grande Valley before moving to Colorado in 2003.
Mabel is considered a super centenarian – someone who has lived until or past their 110th birthday.
According to Gerontology Wiki, about 1 in 1,000 centenarians are more than 110 years old, making them very rare.
The United States, Japan, France, Great Britain and Italy are the top five countries with the most super centenarians, the website reports.
Mabel now belongs to this exclusive list with super centenarians from around the world.
To put things in perspective, Mabel has lived long enough to see 20 presidents in the White House.
She got married in 1927, when she was 18 years old, and had two sons and one daughter.
Eventually, her family grew with six grandkids and 10 great grandchildren.
Mabel’s family had the first dairy farm in Harlingen, which is why she was used to milking cows and killing chickens.
She even has connections to the story behind Ed Carey Drive.
According to Sara Nesmith, her daughter-in-law, Mabel’s mother-in-law was Ed Carey’s aunt. Ed Carey donated the money to build his namesake road.
Mabel is known to be artistic and is described as having a green thumb, enjoying spending time tending to her plants.
According to Jan, besides her love of plants and dancing, Mabel also loves football, with a split devotion to the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos.
“She has lived life on her terms, and if we can all have as much enjoyment as she has, we all need to enjoy our lives as she certainly has,” Jan said.
The Mabel Nesmith file
• Former Harlingen resident Mabel Nesmith turned 110 in February.
• She is the 207th oldest person in the world.
• She is a super centenarian — someone who has lived until or past their 110th birthday.
• 1 in 1,000 centenarians are more than 110 years old.