Mila Mangold, considered the oldest person in California, dies at 114

An elderly woman sits in a wheelchair while wearing a large Happy Birthday cone hat
Mila Mangold celebrates her 114th birthday at the RN3 Loving Care Homes in El Cerrito, Calif.
(Enjie Li)

Mila Mangold lived through some of the world’s most historic moments over the last century — and earned the title of California’s oldest living person while doing it.

Mangold, a long-term resident of Berkeley, died July 2 at 114, the Sunset View Cemetery Assn. said. According to records kept by the Gerontology Research Group, she was the second-oldest person in the U.S. and seventh-oldest in the world.

“We send our sincerest condolences and best wishes to Mila’s family,” Guinness World Records spokesperson Kylie Galloway said.


Mangold was born Nov. 14, 1907, in Nebraska, two days before Oklahoma officially became a state. She would live through two world wars. When the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic tore across the globe, she was 11 years old; more than a century later, she would see the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 1920s, Mangold’s family moved to Los Angeles, where she lived throughout the Great Depression. This is also where she met Walter Mangold, who would become her husband. The two met while she worked as a secretary in a health department, according to the news site Berkeleyside.

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In the 1940s, the couple relocated to Berkeley, where Walter took a job as a professor at UC Berkeley. He became a well-renowned professor and a leader in the field of environmental health. Walter died in 1978, leaving behind Mila and their only son, Donald.

After her husband’s death, Mila Mangold remained an active member of the Berkeley community. She was known to collect oranges from her tree to make marmalade for her neighbors up until her centenarian years and continued to drive until the age of 95.

She was only a week younger than Bessie Hendricks, an Iowa resident who is identified as the oldest person in the country. According to the Gerontology Research Group, there are 12 living supercentenarians — those at least 110 years old — in the world. All are women, and five of them are from the United States.

Mangold is survived by son Donald and his three children.

With Mangold’s passing, Edie Ceccarelli is now considered the oldest person in California at 114 years and 160 days old, according to Gerontology Research Group.