The world’s oldest person celebrated her 116th birthday on Saturday in the Detroit-area city of Inkster, Michigan.
Born in 1899, Talley has lived through the turn of two centuries and 20 different presidents. The most recent of those presidents, Barack Obama sent Talley a special birthday greeting.
“The breadth of your experiences and depth of your wisdom reflect the long path our Nation has traveled since 1899, the president’s letter said. “During this time, there have been setbacks and breakthroughs, false starts and improbable victories, and through it all our country’s spirit has endured — strengthened and enriched by each generation.”
Talley was born in Georgia on May 23, 1899, one of 12 children. She moved to Michigan in 1935 with her husband, Alfred Talley, who died in 1988 at the age of 95.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Talley got a jump start on the celebrations Thursday when she was honored at the Michigan Department of Health on Human Services office in Inkster. She received $116, a dollar for each year of her life, as one of her gifts.
Before leaving, Talley waved to the crowd and told them “I thank you very, very, very, very much.”
Thankful to God for her longevity, Jerlean has lived an active life, still fishes each year and plans to go this summer. Talley gardened and mowed the lawn late into her life, bowled until she was 104 and still fondly recalls her last game — a 200.
“She’s still in her right mind,” said Thelma Holloway, Talley’s only child, and one of five generations of relatives still living.
There are more birthday parties planned, in addition to the one Saturday in Inkster. There’s another celebration planned today Sunday at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Inkster, where Talley is a longtime member.
Source: Detroit Free Press.