SAN FRANCISCO—The oldest known survivor of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake has reportedly died at the age of 113. Ruth Newman passed away in her home in Pebble Beach, California on July 29.
Newman was only five years old when the earthquake hit Northern California and leveled most of San Francisco. Newman and the rest of her family, all of whom survived, were in their home located about 70 miles north of central San Francisco. Newman’s house was not damaged in the incident.
Newman was able to provide a firsthand account of the morning the earthquake struck, as well as the aftermath.
She is said to have been active and even drove into her 90s. Longevity may run in her family as two of her four siblings also lived to be centenarians. Officially born on September 23, 1901, Newman died about two months short of her 114th birthday.
Her passing notes that 109-year-old William Del Monte of Marin County is the last only known survivor of the earthquake. Del Monte does not remember the earthquake as he was only 3 months old when the event happened.
Organizers and attendees of the upcoming 110th anniversary of the earthquake will pay tribute to Newman, who was present at the 100th anniversary ceremony.
The annual ceremonies are held early in the morning at precisely 5:12 a.m. to coincide with the exact time the earthquake struck.
While the 1906 earthquake was not the largest in magnitude in U.S. history, it was the costliest in terms of damage and loss of human life; it claimed around 3,000 lives, leaving thousands other injured or missing. Scientists today agree the 1906 quake measured somewhere in the range of 7.7 to 8.3 on the Richter scale.