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Battery Dies, But He’s Still Going At 115

Sat., April 19, 1997

At 115 years old, John E. Bell is getting a new heart pacemaker. He outlasted his old one, put in when he was 104.

“He outlived the battery,” said Dr. Ronald Berger, the Johns Hopkins Hospital specialist who performed the surgery Thursday. “He deserves to have a heartbeat for as long as the rest of his body allows him to.”

Asked his secret for longevity, Bell said Thursday: “I treat everybody like they should be treated. God said, ‘Feed his sheep.”’ Bell has been honored in his Baltimore neighborhood for helping the poor and cleaning up trash.

Except for glaucoma that has blinded him in the left eye and a stroke about 10 years ago, Bell is in good health, doctors said. “I’ll be delighted to replace the pacemaker when he’s 125,” Berger said.

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