INKSTER, Michigan (Reuters) - Jeralean Talley, the world’s oldest-known living person, will celebrate her 116th birthday in Detroit next month thanking God for her longevity.
Born on May 23, 1899, Talley climbed to the top of a list kept by the Gerontology Research Group, which validates the ages of the world’s longest-living people, after Gertrude Weaver died at 116 in Arkansas this month.
“Everything comes from above. Everything just comes from above,” Talley told Reuters, surrounded by her family, at her one-storey home in the Detroit suburb of Inkster.
Talley was born in Georgia and moved to Michigan in 1935 with her husband, Alfred Talley, for his job at a Ford plant. He died in 1988.
Sharing apple pies from McDonald’s with the youngest member of her five-generation family, two-year-old Armmell Holloway, Talley said: “I feel just like I feel. I feel good.”
Talley, who worked in a laundry washing and ironing, lives with her daughter, Thelma Holloway, 77.
Pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy hang on the wall in the house Talley and her husband built in 1963.
Holloway said her mother would not have predicted the election of a fellow black person as U.S. president, in the shape of Barack Obama.
“It’s amazing. I never had no thoughts about nothing like this. And then she got a chance to be here and see a black president and all that,” Holloway said. “That’s history. She had no idea about that and neither did I.”
She said her mother has maintained an active lifestyle, bowling until she was 104, and that the family plan to take her out for dinner on her 116th birthday.
Talley now mostly stays at home or visits family members’ homes and remains active in the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster, where a front row seat is kept for her.
“She enjoys fishing. She goes fishing every year, but it’s not quite time,” Holloway said. “Maybe sometime in June she’ll get around to going.”
Reporting By Katharine Jackson and Reuters Television; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Kevin Liffey