Oldest living American takes 115th birthday in stride

Fri May 23, 2014 5:13pm EDT
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By Rebecca Cook

INKSTER Mich. (Reuters) - It was just a routine birthday for Jeralean Talley on Friday – a visit to the doctor in the morning, birthday cake in the afternoon for the Michigan resident.

Except that Talley, who turned 115 on Friday, is believed to be the oldest person in the United States and the second-oldest in the world, according to Gerontology Research Group, which validates ages of the world's longest-living people.

Talley, who lives in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, credits her faith for her longevity. "It's the Lord. Everything is in his hands," she said in an interview at the one-story brick home she shares with her daughter Thelma Holloway, 76.

She now uses a walker, but Talley bowled until she was 104. She never smoked or drank alcohol and her only surgery was to have her tonsils removed, she said.

"I feel fine," Talley said.

Talley is not impressed by the attention from the public and news media she gets now on her birthday.

"I'm sick of it," Talley said.

Talley was born in Georgia on May 23, 1899, one of 12 children. She moved with her husband, Alfred Talley, to Michigan in 1935 for his job at a Ford plant. He died in 1988. She worked in a laundry washing and ironing, she said.   Continued...

Jeralean Talley sits on her couch, as a photograph showing her and her late husband Alfred is held next to her, on her 115th birthday in her home in Inkster, Michigan May 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Rebecca Cook