Felix Simoneaux Jr. of Louisiana, who held the title of America's oldest man for the past three months, died Tuesday a month before his 111th birthday, one of his five surviving children, Perry Simoneaux, confirmed to The Huffington Post.
Perry's daughter, Lori Simoneaux Ponville, a notary in the community of LaPlace where Simoneaux lived, said that her grandfather had a sixth child who died in infancy. Neither Ponville nor her dad or two aunts could even count up all his grandkids, great-grandkids and great-great grandchildren except to say "there are many."
"We are a close family," Ponville said. Her dad noted that until a stroke two weeks ago, Felix Simoneaux Jr. lived in his own home without assistance and would make his own breakfast every day. Ponville recalled how when she was a child, he farmed his own fields and would sell his vegetables at the French Market. Well after his 100th birthday, he was still working a small garden near his home, she said. "He never stopped."
In an interview marking his 108th birthday, Simoneaux told the Clarion Herald that the secret to longevity is "is to chew food well before swallowing, eat what agrees with you, and don’t overeat, smoke or drink hard liquor."
Simoneaux was bestowed the title of oldest living man in the United States about three months ago after the death of Andrew Hatch of Oakland, who was believed to be 117 when he died on Jan. 18. The next in line is Frank Levingston, also of Louisiana, according to Robert D. Young, director of the Gerontology Research Group's supercentenarian research division. Levingston was born on Nov. 13, 1905, making him 110. He is also the oldest living veteran in America.