World's Oldest Person: Jeralean Talley Celebrates 116th Birthday

Margaret Minnicks

The world's oldest person is Jeralean Talley who turns 116 on Saturday. She celebrated her birthday in Inkster, Michigan, on Thursday a couple of days before her upcoming birthday. She was born on May 23, 1899.

Those attending Talley's celebration included Inkster's mayor and congressman John Conyers, who delivered a special message from President Barack Obama, according to WXYZ.

"I send by warmest wishes for your 116th birthday. Your experiences and the depth of your wisdom reflect the long path the nation has traveled since 1899."

Talley is an American supercentenarian who has been confirmed to be the world's oldest living person. She was previously thought to be the oldest living American after the death of Elsie Thompson on March 21, 2013, until Gertrude Weaver was verified to be older in July, 2014. After Weaver's death on April 6, 2015, Talley became the oldest living American and the oldest living person in the world.

Citizen News reported that Jeralean was born in Montrose, Georgia to Samuel and Amelia Kurtz. She was one of 11 siblings. She moved to Inkster, Michigan, in 1935, and has lived there since. A year later, she married Alfred Talley, and they were married 52 years until he died at the age of 95 in 1988. They had one child, a daughter, Thelma Holloway, who is now 77. Jeralean has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

Jeralean has lived an interesting life. She does not drive a car. She said she tried it once but pushed the wrong pedal, causing it to go in reverse rather than move forward. She never wanted to try again.

Jeralean stayed active in her later life by sewing dresses, making quilts, and playing the slot machines at casinos. She bowled until she was 104, and she still goes on annual fishing trips.

Talley remains active in the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster, where she is called "Mother Talley." A special front row seat is reserved for her. In May, 2013, the church celebrated her 114th birthday by officially naming the church's driveway after her.

Mother Talley lives by the Golden Rule that says,"Treat others the way you want to be treated." She says faith is the key to her longevity.

"Everything comes from above. Everything just comes from above."
"I don't have much education, but what little sense I got, I try to use it."

[Image via Getty Images]