World’s Oldest Person Turns 116

Ms. Susannah Mushatt, 116 years old

Ms. Susannah Mushatt, 116 years old

According to Guinness World Records, the global authority on record-breaking achievement, Ms. Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn become the world’s oldest living person when she truned 116 on Saturday. Ms. Jones was born on July 6, 1899, and she officially became the worlds oldest person on June 17, 2015, at the age of 115 years and 346 days.

Surprisingly, Ms. Jones only takes two medications a day and is not bed-ridden, despite being hard of hearing and losing her eyesight. She attributes her longevity to getting plenty of sleep. She has also never drank or smoked, and at 106, said that she surrounds herself, “With love and positive energy,” saying that those to things were, “the key to long life and happiness.”

She will celebrate her birthday with two parties, one smaller party with family and a larger one for the community.  She is known as “T”, short for auntie, to her more than 100 nieces and nephews.

Ms. Jones was born in Lowndes County, Alabama to Mary and Callie Mushatt. Her father worked as a sharecropper picking cotton to support his wife, Ms. Jones, and her nine siblings.  Mr. Jones eventually moved from Alabama to New Jersey in 1922 and later to New York City in 1923, where she worked as a live-in housekeeper and childcare provider.

Ms. Jones met Dr. Martin Luther King in Harlem in the late 1950’s while King was promoting his bookStride Toward Freedom at the local Blumstein’s Department Store. Other milestones include being honored in 2005 by NYCHA for being a regular participant in the tenant patrol of her building in East New York. At 106, she was still spending an hour each morning and afternoon sitting at the tenant patrol at the seniors-only building where she lived.

The oldest women to have ever lived was Jeanne Calment from France who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old.

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Jeralean Talley Dies At 116, Was World’s Oldest Woman

There is something unspoken that people find magical about those who manage to live more years than anyone else; Jerlaean Talley is one of those people. Talley was a deeply religious person and member of the Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster,Michigan.

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A family friend Michael Kinloch reports that Talley’s final wish was to not suffer. Kinloch states, “God certainly answered her prayer.” Talley was born long before the first car or the use of modern electricity in 1899. One of her secrets to living so long and remaining health was to treat people the way she wanted to be treated. She also credited God and her deep faith with being the reason she lived so long. Talley was very active, bowling until she was 104, keeping a garden and mowing her lawn and also going fishing every summer.

Talley’s daughter Thelma Holloway, who is 77-years-old herself, states, “Just remember her as being a very beautiful, forgiving person.”  In describing her mother’s passing, Holloway reports, “She went away peacefully.”

The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years old, so Talley outlived that by more than three decades. Talley was born in Montrose, Georgia and moved to Michigan in the 1930s. She is survived by a daughter and three generations of grandchildren.

Talley missed becoming the oldest person to ever live by just eight years. Jeane Louise Calment of France holds that distinction after living 122 years and 164 days. Talley will now be replaced by Susannah Mushatt Jones as the world’s oldest person. Jones was born on July 6, 1899 and lives in New York. Prior to her passing, Talley’s status as the world’s  oldest person had been verified by the Gerontology Research Group.

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