Elma Grace Corning, the oldest Californian, died on July 13 of natural causes. She was 112.
Born on Feb. 22, 1892, Elma Grace Tennis was raised on her family’s farm near Oskaloosa, Iowa. After graduating from high school in 1910, she earned a teaching certificate in domestic science from Iowa State Teacher’s College and taught home economics in junior high schools. She married Duane Corning, a World War I Army pilot, in 1917. He died in 1956.
The couple moved to Los Angeles and had a son, Russell. Corning became a full-time mother and homemaker, but she also explored an interest in music. She took cello lessons in the late 1930s and played with the Glendale Symphony Orchestra for several years. Corning went back to work in 1943, and spent the next 17 years as a receptionist at the welfare office in Los Angeles County. She retired in 1960 at the age of 68.
The second half of the supercentenarian’s life was filled with church activities, travel and bridge parties. Corning continued driving until she was 96, stopping only once her eyesight began to fail.