Born July 4, 1898, Gertrude Weaver was the oldest-living person for five days

By Drew Mackie
April 07, 2015 01:45 AM
Danny Johnston/AP

Gertrude Weaver died on Monday at the age of 116 – just five days after being named the world’s oldest person.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks supercentenarians around the globe, Weaver was 116 years and 271 days old on April 1, when Osaka, Japan, resident Misao Okawa died, making Weaver the oldest living person.

Weaver was a resident at the Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Arkansas, when she died of complications from pneumonia. In an interview with the Washington Post, administrator Kathy Langely said that Weaver was aware of her achievement.

“She was alert and oriented,” Langley said. “She enjoyed that distinction greatly. She enjoyed every phone call, every letter, every comment – everything was read to her.”

Born July 4, 1898, in southwestern Arkansas, Weaver was the daughter of sharecroppers. In an Associated Press article about her birthday in 2014, she credited her longevity to “trusting in the Lord, hard work and loving everybody.”

“You have to follow God. Don’t follow anyone else,” she was quoted as telling the Camden News. “I’ve followed him for many, many years, and I ain’t tired.”

At the time of her death last week, Misao Okawa was 117 years and 27 days old. According to Gerontology Research Group records, the current oldest-living human would appear to be Mississippi resident Jeralean Talley, who was 115 years and 318 days old on Monday.