BERGEN, N.J. — Sylvia Goldsholl lived through the Spanish Flu, two world wars and the Great Depression, then beat coronavirus at age 108 to become one of the world’s oldest COVID survivors. 

Early Wednesday, just hours after turning 110, the resident of the Allendale Community for Senior Living in Allendale, New Jersey, succumbed to old age, dying peacefully before she could be properly feted by the mayor and the nursing facility staff, said David Gillies, director of activities.

“She was an in-house celebrity, a  ‘big sister’ to many and a vocal advocate for others,” Gillies said. Gillies described her as “an independent spirit, who enjoyed music, dancing, and sharing life with others.”

Goldsholl grabbed nationwide attention when she beat COVID-19 in April 2020 at age 108. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy described Phil Murphy as having “a tremendous life and tremendous spirit” at that time.

“I know some readers may recall when she gained great press attention as the world’s second-oldest COVID survivor,” Gilies said Wednesday.

For those who got to know Goldsholl well, they knew her as a caring friend and an involved aunt.

“I didn’t miss anything”

Goldsholl moved to the Allendale home in 2010 after spending most of her life in Bronx, New York, living in the apartment where she had grown up. After she became more dependent on care, she moved from Bronx to New Jersey.

“I didn’t miss a thing,” she told, part of the USA TODAY Network, after her bout with COVID. She said, “I have done a great job.”

Goldsholl, in 2020, was only a few months younger than the New Mexico man of 108 years who had also survived the virus. But she was many years older than the Spanish woman aged 113 who was also able to survive the virus. In the time since, Lucile Randon, a French nun, survived coronavirus at the remarkable age of 116. 

Goldsholl was just 6 years old when the Spanish Flu struck the United States. It claimed the lives of an estimated 50,000,000 people.

Stay connected:Coronavirus Watch is your daily update about all things COVID-19 USA. Subscribe now!

According to the Gerontology Research Group, which keeps a World Supercentenarian Rankings List that was last updated on Dec. 24, Goldsholl was briefly among the few validated supercentenarians alive. The term is usually used to describe people over 110 years old. 

Hilda Brown, the Garden State’s last representative to the supercentenarian group, died in June.

Goldsholl accepted her status of a survivor and told in 2020 that she was a “wonderful person.” Their expectations were met. I represented them in a very well way.”

Everything about family, education

While she never married or had children of her own, Goldsholl cherished her family, her niece Nancy Chazen said in 2020. “She always wanted to have family parties,” Chazen said. “She thought it was important to stay in touch with the family.”

Chazen remembers Goldsholl as “a very loving aunt” to nieces and nephews, and said she taught her to play cards. 

At the Allendale center, Goldsholl enjoyed spending time with other residents and almost to her last day retained her zest for life. “She has a reputation of being an advocate,” Chazen said, adding that Goldsholl used to write letters to government officials about the issues on her mind.

FACTS CHECK:In 2021, COVID-19, Election Misinformation, ruled social media

It was a trait that she valued education and credited her father and mother for encouraging her to learn.

Goldsholl stated that her mother was Russian-educated. She wanted to learn everything. My father was from an extremely high-class family. Both were very important to me. [backgrounds]. 

Gillies said that Goldsholl’s death on her birthday represents a good sign in Jewish tradition.

Gillies declared, “A person who has passed on their birthdays is truly righteous.” 

Follow Matt Fagan Twitter @fagan_nj 



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here