RIP: Atlanta Pediatrician Dr. Leila Denmark Makes Transition at 114


My wife and I met Dr. Leila Denmark when she was 104 years old — a year after she had closed her medical practice at 103! She was still living on her own at the time. We were perfect strangers, but after making only one phone call to her, she warmly welcomed us into her stately home in Alpharetta, Georgia. It was as if she had known us for years.

During our first lengthy visit with her, a few mothers stopped by with their babies to get some of her age-old advice about raising healthy and happy children. We stayed in touch with Dr. Denmark and her daughter, Mary in Athens, Georgia, for ten years. Below is a sketchy timeline over the past few years. The last update was made on her last birthday, February 1, 2012. She will definitely be missed.


Dr. Denmark is now 114 years old. Happy Birthday!

Today, Dr. Leila Denmark turned 113 years old. I spoke to her 80-year-old daughter this morning. She told me that Dr. Denmark is doing fine and she’s sleeping late today. I guess it’s perfectly fine to sleep late on your 113th birthday! Her daughter says she’s receiving cards and telephone calls from all parts of the country to help her celebrate this historic day.

I never thought that three years ago when I was giving pro bono presentations at metro Atlanta libraries about Life Lessons I Learned from a 110-year-old Atlanta Doctor, that I’d be gladly changing the title three years later to 113.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Dr. Leila Denmark; your life is an inspiration to us all!

Below is a re-post  …

I was excited when I spoke to her daughter on yesterday because Dr. Denmark turned 112. They celebrated the historical event at Red Lobster. She is now the 24th oldest person in the world and the 10th oldest American.

The following is the original post … when Dr. Denmark turned 110.

Dr. Leila Denmark was born on February 1, 1898 in Bulloch County, Georgia. The year she was born, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 49 years. Currently, she is the 67th oldest person in the world, according to the short list of super-centenarians (people at least 110 years old or older.)

Dr. Denmark was the 3rd female graduate of the Medical College of Georgia in 1928. She was one of the first female pediatricians in Atlanta and practiced medicine for more than 70 years. It has been estimated that Dr. Denmark treated more than 250,000 patients during her distinguished career. She is credited with being the co-developer of the Whooping Cough vaccine, which saved countless lives of children in the early part of the 20th Century.

When I first met Dr. Denmark in 2002, she was 104 years old, and had just closed her medical practice the previous year, at 103. At that time, she was the oldest practicing physician in America.

Over the years, I’ve learned many valuable life lessons by staying in contact with this legendary Atlanta doctor. Some of the lessons prompted me to do further investigation, and I have incorporated many of them into my daily life. Coming from Dr. Denmark, they were even more powerful because she has seen many years come and go. Here are a few tips she shared with me…

  • Don’t abuse your body with junk food
  • Love what you do
  • Drinking cow’s milk is dangerous
  • Do your best to help others
  • Too much sugar is not a good thing
  • A sense of humor is very important for longevity
  • As a doctor, it’s important to find the root cause of a problem
  • Children are not getting parental guidance and it’s wrecking this nation
  • Kids in daycare are deprived of attention and catch too many illnesses
  • We need to think about everything we eat and drink
  • “Let’s do” is easier than do
  • Anything you have to do is work and anything you love to do is play
  • During the Great Depression, 11,000 of America’s 25,000 banks closed (Save what you can, appreciate what you have.)
  • Never raise your hand or your voice to a child
  • Parenting has gone out of style
  • Children and adults should eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juices
  • Drink only water
  • The greatest change she’s seen in her lifetime has been the neglect of little children

This is what works for me: My wife and I no longer buy milk. She makes it from scratch using dates and almonds. I don’t buy fruit juices because once the juice has been pasteurized, the vitamin and mineral content have both been greatly reduced. I’ve cut back on my junk food consumption tremendously, and I no longer look at day care facilities the same. These changes may not help me live as long as Dr. Denmark, but they will help me to live a healthier life.

– Spark Plug

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