Inkster Resident Turns 114 Today: America’s Oldest Person

The oldest woman in the U.S. is pushing off questions about her longevity to a higher power.
When Jeralean Talley (pictured) was asked why she thinks she has lived so long, the 113-year-old from suburban Detroit lifted her arm and pointed to the sky.
“Don’t ask me,” she said. “Ask Him.”

Talley, who was born May 23, 1899, in Montrose, Ga., is the third-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies age information for Guinness World Records.
She earned the title of oldest American when Elsie Thompson of Clearwater, Fla., died March 21, just weeks before her 114th birthday.
“I feel all right,” Talley told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday in the Inkster home in which she has lived for decades.

Several of Talley’s 11 siblings lived well into their 90s, said 75-year-old Thelma Holloway, Talley’s only child.
Talley, who gave up bowling at age 104, uses a walker to get around and still plans to attend her annual fishing outing with Michael Kinloch, a friend from Wayne County’s Canton Township whom she met at church.
“Her memory is phenomenal,” he said.

Talley moved to Michigan in 1935, and her husband, Alfred, died in 1988.
Her friend, Mary Kennedy, said Talley remains alert and has a sense of humor.
“She is original,” Kennedy said. “There is nobody else like her.”
The Gerontology Research Group said the world’s two oldest people are 115 and live in Japan.

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