Guinness World Records - Officially Amazing

Happy birthday Besse Cooper! World’s oldest living person turns 116

 
 
 
 
 
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Besse Cooper, the world's oldest living person, marked another milestone today, when she celebrated her 116th birthday.

Besse, from Monroe, Georgia, USA, was first certified as the world's oldest person by Guinness World Records in January 2011.

Senior Consultant of Gerontology for Guinness World Records, Robert Young, presented Besse with an updated Guinness World Records plaque as part of her birthday festivities which took place at her nursing home facility in Monroe, Georgia.

She had to relinquish the title for a few months when it was discovered that Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentim was 48 days older. However, when Maria died on June 21, 2011, Besse was reinstated as the world's oldest person and has held that title ever since.

Her birthday was marked with the a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicating a recently completed bridge on New Hope Church Road in her honour.

Born in Tennessee in 1896, Besse moved to Monroe, during World War One in search of work as a teacher.

She married her husband Luther in 1924, and they had four children. Today, she has 12 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Speaking at the bridge ceremony, Besse's son, Sidney, said "The older she has gotten the more wittier she has gotten,"

Relaying a message from the honoree he later added, "I'm glad I gave them a reason to name it."

Besse Cooper is among an elite group of eight super centenarians who have lived to the age of 116.

Her secret to longevity?  "I mind my own business," Cooper says. "And I don't eat junk food."

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