Oldest Living Person: 114-years-old Besse Cooper sets world record
MONROE, Ga., USA --Besse Cooper,
who is 114 years and 5 months old and lives in a nursing home in Monroe, Ga., about 45 miles east of Atlanta.,assumed the mantle of theoldest living personafter the death Monday of Eunice G. Sanborn of Jacksonville, Texas, according to the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which certifies supercentenarians - people who are 110 or older. Photo: Besse Cooper, right, who at 114 years and five months old, is theworld's oldest person, according to the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, talks with her son Sid Cooper in her room at a nursing home. Photo: AP / David Goldman (enlarge photo)
She was born in Sullivan County, Tenn., on Aug. 26, 1896, during the second term of President Grover Cleveland.
The previous Guinness world record for the Oldest living person was set by Eunice Sanborn (Texas, USA, b. 20 July 1896).
Guinness World Records also recognized the oldest living man: Walter Breuning (USA), who was born 21 September 1896.
Cooper wears a string of pearls double-looped around her neck and spends her days sitting and sleeping. Her wheelchair has bright pink armrests embroidered with "Ms. Besse, 2010 114."
One of eight children, she was a tomboy and loved tagging along with her two older brothers, climbing trees and splashing in rivers. She carried that active lifestyle and love of outdoors into adulthood. That, plus good genes, is probably the secret to her longevity, her son said.
She moved to Georgia to be a school teacher during World War I, her son said.
She married in the early 1920s and taught fourth through seventh grades in a two-room schoolhouse until her first child was born. Although she stopped teaching then, she was an avid reader until her eyes got too bad last year. She always insisted that her children get an education.
Married for about 40 years, Cooper has outlived her husband by nearly half a century. They had four children, about a dozen grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild, Sid Cooper said.
Cooper lived on her own until she was 105 and stubbornly resisted leaving her house, Sid Cooper said. Her health has declined steeply in the last year or so, and she can't hear or see well, he said. Speaking seems to require effort.
"I mind my own business and I don't eat junk food," she said at her 113th birthday celebration, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.