Sylvia Goldsholl has endured the 1918 Spanish flu, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and now the coronavirus.
The 108-year-old New Jersey woman is still as spunky as ever after becoming one of the oldest people in the country to survive COVID-19 last month.
She has lived at the Allendale Community for Senior Living for 10 years, where she returned to a hero’s welcome on April 15 after being released from the hospital just nine days after testing positive for the coronavirus.
“Certainly when we were informed she had COVID, I thought this is the end of her journey,” Goldsholl’s niece, Nancy Chazen, told TODAY. “I remember I got the phone call (that she had recovered), and I just thought, ‘That so great.’ We were very surprised.”
“I survived everything because I was determined to survive,” Goldsholl told News 12 New Jersey.
Goldsholl celebrated her 108th birthday on Dec. 29, 2019, with a party at the facility of 200 residents that was attended by Allendale’s mayor.
“Sylvia is one of those spunky, feisty, outspoken characters. She’s like a big sister here, always advocating for others.”
Making her survival particularly remarkable is that New Jersey has had the second highest rate of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, behind New York. Nearly half of the deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities.
She earned a special shoutout for her “tremendous spirit” from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy for her resilience.
Goldsholl and 108-year-old New Mexico man Phil Corio may be the oldest Americans to survive the virus. There also have been stories of people in their 90s surviving the illness that has disproportionately affected seniors.
Goldsholl was born in 1911 and is the oldest of four children who grew up in the Bronx in New York City. She worked as a bookkeeper and never married or had children, according to Chazen.
She likes to be around people,” Chazen said. “She gets really good care over there and has a great social life, so three cheers to her nursing home that they were able to get her through this.”