While organizing the Ringsted High School class of 1958 60-year reunion in Milford, Iowa, Del Matheson noticed something rather amazing when he was putting together the mailing list for the event: All 14 of the class’ graduates, despite nearing their 80th birthdays, were all still alive.
According to David Herzog, the assistant professor of mathematics at Iowa State University, the chances of all of the graduates making it to the reunion 60 years after leaving school like this is a 1 in 177,467,459 chance. Matheson himself, when asked about this astounding occurrence, says the group (who have all stayed in touch since graduation) often jokes about which of them will be the first to die one day. “It’s like a contest,” he told the Des Moines Register, joking that none of them wants to lose by being the first.
With the average life expectancy in the United States being 78.8 years, it simply doesn’t make sense that all 14 of them are still alive, with some even having reached the age of 79. There is no clear answer as to how they’ve all managed to beat the odds like this, with little reason to believe upbringing, genetics, or circumstance has done much to affect their overall health one way or the other. Most of their parents died young and, aside from being decently active, eating healthy, and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes in excess, none of them did anything out of the ordinary to try and prolong their lives.
The group has even managed to outlive the school itself, which was bulldozed several years ago. Instead, the group typically flies in from where they live across the country to meet together in a local tavern, reminiscing over old times and savoring every moment while it lasts.
Whatever the reason, none of them seem keen on dying for at least a couple more reunions to come.