Besse Cooper is the eighth woman to be verified by Guinness World Records to have reached that age and she is enjoying every minute of it. The Georgia resident is also the fourth American to be verified by the record keeping company to have reached that age.
Born in 1896 in Tennessee, Cooper celebrated her 116th birthday on Sunday. She set her first record for age when Guinness recognized her in January 2011 as the oldest living person. The glory was short lived as just a few months later Guinness verified the age of Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentim as being 48 days older than Cooper. Following Valentim’s death in June of 2011, Cooper again became the acknowledged oldest person in the world.
In order to be verified as the oldest living person ever, Cooper has roughly another seven years to go. The person who held that title, the French-born Jeanne Louis Calment, lived to the ripe old age of 122 years and 164 days before dying on August 4, 1997.
Guinness World Record senior consultant of gerontology Robert Young was present at Cooper’s birthday celebration. He presented the birthday girl with a plaque honoring her achievement. The celebration took place in the Monroe, GS nursing home where she lives.
The secret to her longevity is simple. According to Cooper, she minds her own business and more importantly she avoids junk food.