Once the oldest-living Jewish person in the world, Evelyn Kozak was born on August 14, 1899, in New York City. The child of immigrants, her parents fled Russia to escape anti-Semitism, according to The Times of Israel, moving to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Kozak herself married twice and had five children, 10 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
She spent most of her adult life in Miami and ran a boarding house there until she was 90. Her hobbies included reading and playing Scrabble, which she quit when she turned 95. She relocated again to Brooklyn in her later years and lived with her granddaughter, to whom Kozak asked for matchmaking help. At 111, Kozak wanted to remarry, but when proposed the idea of dating a 115-year-old man living in Israel, Kozak reportedly said he was too old. “I don’t want to be alone in my old age,” she reportedly said, according to The New York Times.
In 2009, Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields named August 5 in Pittsburgh as “Evelyn Kozak Day” in honor of her 110 birthday, making her the oldest Pittsburgh resident at the time, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
She died of a heart attack on June 11, 2013. She was the world’s seventh oldest person, according to the Gerontology Research Group (via The Times of Israel).