A woman who attributed her longevity to almost daily doses of whiskey and yogurt and a lifetime abstinence from smoking died Friday in her home at the age of 118, officials said.
Sherin Youseph Kuloo was 45 days short of her 119th birthday when she died of pneumonia, according to the Stanislaus County coroner's office. In 1988, she was the oldest person in the United States to apply for the amnesty program, Immigration and Naturalization Service officials said. They added that, if the papers Mrs. Kuloo submitted with her application were authentic, she was also probably the oldest person in the nation. She was 115 at the time.
Family members have a baptism certificate written in English and signed by a priest of the Holy Apostolic Assyrian Church of the East indicating that Mrs. Kuloo was born July 15, 1872, at Jilo, Turkey.
Mrs. Kuloo settled in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and outlived four husbands before immigrating to the United States in April, 1978. A Christian in Muslim-dominated Iraq, Mrs. Kuloo was leery of returning to Iraq and feared growing violence.
Mrs. Kuloo once told a reporter that the reason for her longevity was simple: She enjoyed a shot or two of whiskey almost every night, she ate yogurt nearly every day; she never smoked, and she kept busy and worked hard.