World's Oldest Person Jeralean Talley Rings in Her 116th Birthday with Weekend Party
The supercentenarian has held the title since April
Talley, who was born on May 23, 1899, is verified as the world’s oldest living person by the Gerontology Research Group, which validates the ages of the world’s supercentenarians.
While the birthday might seem like a big one to some, Talley brushed off all the fuss.
“There’s nothing I can do about it,” Talley told the Associated Press of her milestone birthday.
The Georgia-born woman was one of 12 children, and first moved to Michigan with her husband, Alfred Talley, in 1935. Talley has outlived her husband by nearly 27 years, after he passed away in 1988 at age 95.
She first became the world’s oldest-known living person in April after the previous title holder, Gertrude Weaver, passed away at 116 after holding the designation for 5 days.
One of the few remaining people born in the 19th Century, Talley had several celebrations planned for her birthday weekend. On Thursday, the Jeopardy! fan was gifted $116 dollars (one for every year) at an event at her local office of the Department of Health and Human Services. Party attendees included U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who is a title-holder himself as the longest-serving member in the House, according to Time.
“I thank you very, very, very, very much,” Talley told the partygoers, reported the AP.
The great-great grandmother also received a special letter from President Barack Obama on Thursday, which praised her importance to the American story. “The breadth of your experiences and depth of your wisdom reflect the long path our Nation has traveled since 1899,” the letter read, according to TIME.
Talley, who bowled until age 104, is still somewhat active despite her advanced age, and enjoys fishing, especially with her godson Tyler Kinloch, 21.
“Her No. 1 rule is to treat people how you want to be treated,” Kinloch told the AP. “I definitely carry that with me every single day.”
Talley also enjoyed a party at her church on Sunday, celebrating with family at the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church.
“I feel good,” she told Time on Friday on a phone call with the help of her 77-year-old daughter Thelma Holloway. “I just can t get around like I would like to.”
The world’s second oldest living person, Susannah Jones of Brooklyn, New York, will turn 116 in July.