Vet Voices

Oldest Organ Donor In U.S. Is From West Virginia

West Virginia Headlines

Caption: Cecil F. Lockhart died at age 95 on May 4, 2021, becoming the oldest organ donor in U.S. history.
(Left: Cecil pictured with wife of 75 years, Helen, and five of his six great-grandchildren. Right: Cecil F. Lockhart.)

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) recovered the liver from the oldest recorded organ donor in United States history, as confirmed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

The recipient is a woman in her 60’s and is doing well.

The liver came from 95-year-old Cecil F. Lockhart of Welch, W.Va

Cecil’s family said he was moved to become an organ donor following the death of his son, Stanley, in 2010, after which Stanley healed the lives of 75 people through tissue donation and restored sight to two others through cornea donation. Cecil is survived by Helen Cline Lockhart, his “best girl” and loving wife of 75 years, his daughter, Sharon White, and his son, Brian Lockhart, as well as three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  

“He was a generous person when he was alive, and we are filled with pride and hope knowing that, even after a long, happy life, he is able to continue that legacy of generosity,” Cecil’s daughter, Sharon White, said. “When my brother was a donor after he passed away a few years ago, it helped my dad to heal. And today, knowing his life is continuing through others really is helping us through our grief too.”

Cecil was born in Short Pole, W.Va. in 1926, the sixth of seven children. He was a proud coal miner working the mines in West Virginia for more than 50 years. Cecil served as a corporal in the United States Army during World War II.

According to Bill White, Cecil’s son-in-law, Cecil was very proud to be a veteran: “Just as he fought for our country’s freedom 75 years ago in World War II, he would be proud to know that he’s fighting for someone else today, as an organ donor.” Bill said that at Cecil’s funeral, which included full military honors, the family asked everyone to register as an organ donor to honor Cecil’s memory

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