Second oldest living person 'sick' of being told how old she is

  • People
  • Wednesday, 28 May 2014

It was just a routine birthday for Jeralean Talley on May 23 – a visit to the doctor in the morning, and a cake in the afternoon – except that she turned 115. But please don’t remind her about it.

Michigan resident Talley is believed to be the oldest person in the US and the second-oldest in the world, according to Gerontology Research Group, which validates ages of the world’s longest-living people. The only person in the world confirmed to be older than Talley is Misao Okawa of Japan, who turned 116 in March, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

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-storey brick home she shares with her daughter Thelma Holloway, 76.

Although she now uses a walker, 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. And don’t even remind her how old she’s getting on. Talley is thoroughly unimpressed by the attention from the public and news media she gets now on her birthday. “I’m sick of it,” Talley said.

Happy 115th Birthday: Jeralean Talley sits on her couch in her home in Inkster, Michigan, as a photograph showing her and her late husband Alfred is held next to her. – Reuters

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. Worn framed black and white pictures of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy hang on a wall in the home. Talley says she is a Democrat and voted for President Barack Obama.

Talley planned to spend her birthday with her daughter and 14-month-old great-great-grandson, Armmell Holloway. Her physical therapist was bringing over a birthday cake. Talley said she has lived by the golden rule. “Treat your neighbour as you want to be treated,” she said. “I don’t tell no lies on you and you don’t tell no lies on me.” – Reuters

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