A 108-year-old New Jersey woman who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic beat the coronavirus in a “tremendous show of strength,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
At his daily briefing Thursday, Murphy said Sylvia Goldscholl was just 7 years old when the deadly flu pandemic killed millions across the globe. “And she survived it,” the governor said.
“A tremendous life, a tremendous spirit, and a tremendous show of strength,” the governor wrote in a tweet celebrating Goldsholl.
Goldsholl was seven years old when the 1918 flu — which killed more than 50 million people globally — hit.
“I survived everything because I was determined to survive,” she told News 12 New Jersey in an interview conducted over video chat last week.
Goldsholl originally lived in the Bronx before moving to New Jersey 20 years ago, according to News 12. She didn’t really want to talk about the virus, the News 12 reporter said — but she did reminisce about her family.
“The oldest of four children and I was the smartest one from the bunch,” she said, while sporting a pink boa around her neck. “I am a survivor. I’ve got to come out on the top of every list.”
Goldsholl is a few months older than the 108-year-old New Mexico man who also beat the virus.
Goldsholl enjoys spending time with other residents at the nursing home, and she’s been an older sister to her neighbors since she arrived, community leaders said in a December statement celebrating her 108th birthday.
The community celebrated the birthday with half a dozen balloons and a cake decorated with roses.
Goldsholl hasn’t lost 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.
She is also known to emphasize the importance of education, crediting her mother and father with encouraging her to learn.
“My mom was educated in Russia,” Goldsholl said. “She wanted very much to be knowledgeable. My father came from a very high-class background. I made the best of both (backgrounds).