World’s Oldest Woman Turns 116 (Video)

Besse Cooper of Monroe, Georgia had her birthday on Sunday. But this wasn’t just any old birthday.She turned 116, making her the oldest person in world. NBC notes that Besse Cooper is only the eighth person to reach this age and the fourth American to do so.

Born in 1896, she lived through the entire 20th century and settled in Georgia during World War I where she worked as a teacher at the school in the small town of Between, and married her husband in 1924. She had four children with her husband who passed away in 1963.

She now boasts a dozen grandchildren, along with a healthy dose of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Cooper had few words for those who asked her about her longevity, simply stating, “I mind my own business… And I don’t eat junk food.”

She briefly lost her title as the oldest person in early 2011 when a Brazilian woman, Maria Gomes Valentim, was discovered to be just over a month older than her. She passed away in June 2011, reinstating Besse Cooper’s title as the oldest person in the world. Here’s a video of Mrs. Cooper from two years ago:

Along with a plaque presented by the Guinness World Records, Mrs. Cooper was presented with a colorful cake and surrounded by friends and family. Last Friday, officials in Walton County, where Besse Cooper has lived and worked for decades, named a bridge in honor of her.

Her son, Sidney Cooper, told reporters, “She acknowledged it and seemed to be pleased,… Were all very pleased by it. We think its really great and we are very appreciative to the county for it.

The mayor of Between, Polly Gasstrom, told the Walton Tribune the bridge is a marker of the small town’s changing facade and a great way to put Between, with only 296 residents, on the map. She told reporters, “Besse is such a sweet woman. I have had a chance to talk to her, hear her stories, and if we are going to be put on the map, she is a great reason.”

The bridge has now been officially opened for traffic, although Besse Cooper couldn’t be there for the dedication ceremony on Friday. She said she was glad that she gave organizers a reason to name the bridge.

Related Stories:

Teaching Feminism: Starting the School Year with Equality in Mind

Just One Drink a Day Can Increase Cancer Risk

Is Deskfasting Healthier for You?

Photo Credit: Jessica Mcgowan/Guinness World Records

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


LMj Sunshine

Wow 116, congrads and Happy Birthday, sadly video gone.

LMj Sunshine

Wow 116, congrads and Happy Birthday, sadly video gone.

Carla Elchesen
Carla Elchesen3 years ago

116? Wow! My grandmother almost made it to 100... Although she's no longer alive, I used to love her stories of when she was a child, as things were so very different back then. So many inventions and technology we take for granted nowadays were considered "science fiction" in her youth, she used to say. As for Mrs. Cooper, Happy Birthday!, and I'll bet she has an equally fascinating take on history and stories to tell :-)

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen3 years ago

is she vegan? I don't feel like watching the video.

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn3 years ago

What a remarkable blessing. My grandmother just turned 100. Blessing to all those that live to be that age and past 100.

Maree Ann Peterson

Happy Birthday!!

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago

wow, Happy birthday :)

Nils Lunde

Happy birthday!

Viki V.
Viki A.3 years ago

happy birthday.

Lindsay Kemp
Lindsay Kemp3 years ago

Congratulations Bessie!