Tekla Juniewicz

  • Full name: Tekla Juniewicz
  • Lifespan: (10.06.1906 – 19.08.2022)
  • Age: 116 years, 70 days
  • Birthplace: Krupsko, Austria-Hungary (now Krupsko, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
  • Last residence: Gliwice, Silesia Voivodeship, Poland
  • Application date: 10.06.2016
  • Validation date: 16.05.2018
  • Validation source: Wacław Jan Kroczek/Janina Stachowska/Adam Stachowski

Biography

Early Life and Family

Tekla Juniewicz was born as Tekla Dadak in Krupsko, Austria−Hungary (now Ukraine) on 10 June 1906. After Poland regained independence in 1918, Krupsko became part of Rozdół Commune, Stanisławów Voivodeship, Poland, and then became part of the Soviet Union after World War I when the border was shifted (Ukraine became independent in 1991). Juniewicz’s parents were Jan and Katarzyna Dadak, and she had two younger sisters, Rozalia and Katarzyna. Their father worked for Count Karol Lanckoronski, and their mother died during the First World War.

As a child, Juniewicz attended the school of Szarytki Sisters in Przeworsk, Poland, where she learned to sew, embroider, and cook. In Przeworsk, she met her future husband, Jan Juniewicz (1894-1980), 22 years her senior, whom she married on 28 February 1927. After the wedding, they moved to Borysław, Poland, where she took a job in an earth wax mine. They had two daughters, Janina (1928-2016) and Urszula (1929-2021).

Later Life and Death

In November 1945, Juniewicz moved to Gliwice, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland, where her husband got a job in a mine. The couple were married until Jan Juniewicz’s death in 1980 at the age of 96. Tekla Juniewicz lived alone until she was 103 years old, when her grandson Adam Stachowski moved in to assist her with her daily activities.

Juniewicz (aged 113) meeting Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in August 2019.

In June 2016, Juniewicz celebrated her 110th birthday. On her 113th birthday in June 2019, Juniewicz received a congratulatory letter from the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. In August 2019, and later again in June 2022, Prime Minister Morawiecki visited Juniewicz in person at her home.

Juniewicz had been active all her life, even in her supercentenarian years. Some of her hobbies included reading, playing cards, watching movies and historical programs, working in her garden, and spending time with her family. Her active lifestyle may have been one of the factors to her longevity. She disliked being idle.

At the age of 116, Juniewicz was still able to walk short distances with assistance.

Juniewicz died from complications of a stroke and heart complications she had one day prior in Gliwice, Silesia Voivodeship, Poland, during the early morning hours of 19 August 2022, at the age of 116 years, 70 days. According to her grandson Adam, Juniewicz had been in good health and spirits until the day before she died. Her funeral was held four days later on 23 August 2022 at 10:00am, in her hometown of Gliwice in a church.

Tekla Juniewicz’s funeral in Gliwice on 23 August 2022.

Longevity Records

Juniewicz is the first recorded supercentenarian from Poland’s Silesia Voivodship. She became the oldest living person in Poland, following the death of 111-year-old Jadwiga Szubartowicz 20 July 2017.

On 24 April 2018, Juniewicz became the longest-lived person ever documented in the history of Poland after surpassing the previous record of 111 years, 317 days set by Wanda Wierzchleyska. On 10 June 2018, Juniewicz became the first Polish person on record to reach the age of 112. She subsequently became the first Pole to reach the ages of 113, 114, 115, and 116 (in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively).

Juniewicz’s age was validated by the GRG on 16 May 2018 after the age validation work performed by GRG-Poland Correspondent Waclaw Jan Kroczek earlier that same year, following the diplomatic action between Poland and Ukraine, with the close cooperation of Juniewicz’s family.

On 11 May 2020, Juniewicz became the oldest validated person ever born in present-day Ukraine, after surpassing the previous record of 113 years, 335 days set by Goldie Michelson.

On 18 February 2021, Juniewicz surpassed Venere Pizzinato-Papo’s final age of 114 years, 252 days to become the oldest validated person ever born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Tekla Juniewicz on her 116th birthday.

Juniewicz became the last surviving European person born in 1906, following the death of Valentine Ligny on 4 January 2022. 22 days later, on 26 January 2022, Juniewicz became the last surviving validated person born in 1906, following the death of Yoshi Otsunari.

On 23 February 2022, Juniewicz surpassed Dina Manfredini‘s final age of 115 years, 257 days to become the oldest validated emigrant ever. She held this record until Maria Branyas Morera surpassed her age on 14 May 2023.

Juniewicz became the second-oldest validated living person in the world, following the death of Kane Tanaka on 19 April 2022.

In June 2022, Juniewicz celebrated her 116th birthday, making her the first validated supercentenarian on record to have lived north of the 50th parallel to reach this age, as well as one of only nine validated European supercentenarians on record to reach this age. She was also the first validated emigrant on record to reach this age as well.

Juniewicz died in Gliwice, Silesia Voivodeship, Poland on 19 August 2022 at the age of 116 years, 70 days. At the time of her death, she was the second-oldest validated living person in the world (after Lucile Randon), and the last surviving validated person born in 1906. After her death, Wanda Szajowska from Krakow, Lesser Poland became the oldest known living person in Poland. She was also the last surviving Polish person born before 1911. She currently ranks as the 24th-oldest person ever recorded whose age is validated by the GRG.

Juniewicz is currently the seventh-oldest validated European person ever, after Jeanne CalmentLucile RandonEmma MoranoMaria Branyas MoreraJeanne Bot, and Maria Giuseppa Robucci. She is also the oldest validated person ever born in Eastern Europe, as well as the oldest validated person ever who died in Central Europe and Baltic Sea region.

Longevity recognition

  • Oldest living person in Silesia Voivodeship (22.09.2013 – 19.08.2022)
  • Longevity Recordholder of Silesia Voivodeship (present)
  • Doyenne of Poland (20.07.2017 – 19.08.2022)
  • Longevity Recordholder of Poland (24.04.2018 – present)
  • Longevity Recordholder of Northern and Central Europe (10.06.2019 – present)
  • Oldest emigrant supercentenarian in history (23.02.2022 – 14.05.2023)
  • Oldest person born in 1906

Validation

Tekla Juniewicz’s age was verified by Wacław Jan Kroczek, GRG Poland and Nordic Countries Correspondent, with the significant and invaluable help of Janina Stachowska, and Adam Stachowski, after an international action between Poland and Ukraine, conducted with the participation of closest family members and finalized with the location of the most crucial evidence. Validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) on 16 May 2024.

Tekla Juniewicz on her 115th birthday (photo by Waclaw Jan Kroczek)

Tekla Juniewicz as a young woman.

Collection of photographies from Tekla’s youth.

Tekla Juniewicz aged 109 in March 2016, after being recognized as Poland’s Vice-Doyenne.

Tekla Juniewicz, aged 109, with GRG-Poland Correspondent Wacław Jan Króczek in March 2016. Their first meeting.

Tekla Juniewicz on her 111th birthday with her grandson Adam Stachowski.

Tekla Juniewicz with Wacław Jan Kroczek, GRG-Poland Correspondent, on her 112th birthday.

Tekla Juniewicz on her 113th birthday with Jarosław Wieczorek, voivode of the Silesia Voivodeship and her grandson, Adam Stachowski.

Tekla Juniewicz in 2020, shortly before her 114th birthday.

Tekla Juniewicz on her 116th birthday.

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