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Oldest person in the world celebrates 116th birthday


  • Jeralean Talley, born on May 23, 1899, is honored at the Inkster, Mich. district office of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.(Elisha Anderson/Detroit Free Press via AP)
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INKSTER, Mich. » A Detroit-area woman turned 116 Saturday, but she offers no secret for a long life.

"There’s nothing I can do about it," Jeralean Talley of Inkster said ahead of her birthday weekend.

Talley will celebrate her birthday twice, including a party on Sunday at her church, New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist. The Gerontology Research Group considers her to be the oldest person in the world, based on available records, followed by Susannah Jones of Brooklyn, New York, who turns 116 in July.

"You’re more likely to win the lottery than to reach this age," said Robert Young of Gerontology Research.

Talley bowled until she was 104 and still likes to catch fish. A daughter, Thelma Holloway, tells the Detroit Free Press that her mother still has a sharp mind.

She was born in Montrose, Georgia, in 1899 and moved to Michigan in the 1930s. Talley’s husband died in 1988 at age 95.

"Her No. 1 rule is to treat people how you want to be treated," said godson Tyler Kinloch, 21, who fishes with her. "I definitely carry that with me every single day."

Talley received $116 — a dollar for every year — at an event Thursday at a local office of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The attendees included U.S. Rep. John Conyers. The Democrat is the longest-serving member in the House, but even at 86 he’s three decades younger than Talley, who lives in his district.

"I thank you very, very, very, very much," Talley told the crowd.

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