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Besse Cooper 2010

Besse Berry Cooper (née Brown; August 26, 1896 – December 4, 2012)[1][2] was an American supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living person from June 21, 2011, until her death. Cooper is one of the 10 oldest verifiably recorded people, and was the last verified living person born in 1896.[3] Additionally, she was the eighth verified person in recorded history to live to the age of 116 or more.[4]

She hosted Ben and Toad's Contest season 1 from week 1 until week 10, when it's so close to passing away.

Jiroemon Kimura is currently travelling the long road to Cooper to get to spot 8.

Early life, education and careerEdit

Cooper was born Besse Berry Brown in Sullivan County, Tennessee, on August 26, 1896, the third of eight children born to Richard Brown (1861–1932) and Angeline Berry (1866–1927).[5] As a child, she was a keen scholar who read constantly.[6] She graduated from East Tennessee State Normal School (now East Tennessee State University) in 1916, and worked as a schoolteacher in Tennessee before moving to Georgia around the time of America's entrance into World War I in 1917.[7] She taught in Between, Georgia, until 1929.

Personal lifeEdit

She married Luther Cooper (1895–1963) in 1924, and had four children – Angeline (b. 1929), Luther, Jr., (b. 1932), Sidney (b. 1935), and Nancy (b. 1944) – with him. Besse was widowed in December 1963 after 39 years of marriage; Luther was 68 at the time of his death. Following her husband's death, Cooper lived alone on their farm until 2001, when she moved into a nursing home at the age of 105.[8][9]

LongevityEdit

Cooper became Georgia's oldest resident on January 19, 2009, following the death of 113-year-old Beatrice Farve.[8] Cooper was additionally the second-oldest verified person from Tennessee, after Elizabeth Bolden, who died in December 2006, aged 116 years 118 days. Cooper was furthermore the last surviving person born during the second Grover Cleveland administration. She reputedly attributed her longevity to "minding her own business" and avoiding junk food.[10]

At the time of her 116th birthday in August 2012, Cooper had four children, 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.[11][12] She spent her final years in a nursing home in Monroe, Georgia.[13] In July 2012, a proposal was advanced to name a Georgia bridge in Cooper's honor; a bridge in Between was named Besse Brown Cooper Bridge on August 24, 2012.[4][14][15][16]

Before 2011Edit

2011Edit

  • January 31, 2011 – Eunice Sanborn died. Cooper, aged 114 years, 158 days, became the oldest living person in the United States. She was thought to be the world's oldest living individual until May 18, 2011, when Brazil's Maria Gomes Valentim was verified as older.
  • April 14, 2011 – Walter Breuning died. Cooper, aged 114 years, 231 days, became the last surviving American born in 1896.
  • May 18, 2011 – Guinness World Records reported that Maria Gomes Valentim had been verified as the oldest living person in the world since November 4, 2010.[17]
  • June 21, 2011 – Maria Gomes Valentim died. Cooper, aged 114 years, 299 days, became the world's oldest living person. She also became the third person to regain the status of the verified oldest living person, the first being Jeanne Calment and the second being Elizabeth Bolden.
  • August 9, 2011 – Cooper, aged 114 years, 348 days, became the longest-lived person born in 1896, surpassing Maria Gomes Valentim.
  • August 26, 2011 – Cooper became the 25th verified person in recorded history to reach age 115, and the first person to do so since Gertrude Baines, who celebrated her 115th birthday on April 6, 2009.[18]
  • November 14, 2011 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 80 days, surpassed Augusta Holtz to become one of the 20 oldest people ever.
  • December 2, 2011 – Chiyono Hasegawa died. Cooper, aged 115 years, 98 days, became the last verified surviving person born in 1896.[3]
  • December 13, 2011 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 109 days, surpassed Susie Gibson to become one of the ten oldest Americans ever.

2012Edit

  • January 30, 2012 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 157 days, surpassed Emiliano Mercado del Toro to become one of the 15 oldest people.
  • April 3, 2012 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 221 days, surpassed Edna Parker to become one of the 10 oldest women. In surpassing Parker, Cooper also became the oldest living person since 116-year-old Elizabeth Bolden died in December 2006.
  • April 11, 2012 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 229 days, surpassed Charlotte Hughes to become one of the 10 oldest people.
  • May 5, 2012 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 253 days, surpassed Christian Mortensen to become one of the five oldest Americans.
  • June 22, 2012 – Cooper, aged 115 years, 301 days, became the first person since Edna Parker to hold the title of the world's oldest living person for more than a year.
  • August 26, 2012 – Cooper became the eighth verified person in history to reach age 116, and the first to do so since Elizabeth Bolden, who celebrated her 116th birthday on August 15, 2006.[19]
  • December 4, 2012 – Cooper died of natural causes in Monroe, Georgia, aged 116 years, 100 days. She was succeeded as the world's oldest living person by Dina Manfredini, an Italian-born resident of Iowa who herself died thirteen days later.[1][20][2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  13. "Governor visits Besse". Walton Tribune. March 30, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
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Preceded by
Maria Gomes Valentim
Oldest recognized living person
June 21, 2011 – December 4, 2012
Succeeded by
Dina Manfredini
Preceded by
Eunice Sanborn
Oldest recognized living person in the United States
January 31, 2011 – December 4, 2012
Preceded by
Eunice Sanborn
Oldest living person who was born in the United States


January 31, 2011 – December 4, 2012

Succeeded by
Mamie Rearden

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