Oldest Woman in the World Dies at 116 in Georgia

Besse Cooper also held the record for oldest living person

By Raluca Anghel on December 5th, 2012 08:32 GMT

Besse Cooper, of Georgia, passed away yesterday, Tuesday, December 4. The woman held the Guinness Book of Records title for oldest person in the world.

Cooper was asked in an interview how she managed to keep healthy for this long period. She responded it was a combination between eating well and joked that it also helped that she minded her own business.

“I mind my own business, and I don't eat junk food,” the centenarian said.

She held the title for oldest person alive since 2011, being the first resident of Georgia to be featured by Guinness under this category. Daily Mail chronicles that Cooper was born in Tennessee, but moved to Georgia during World War I.

In a report by Guinness reps last year, she expressed that “the older she has gotten the more wittier she has gotten.”

She had moved to Georgia to look for work as a teacher, but still felt connected to her birthplace. Her roots were celebrated when she turned 115, with a Nashville musician playing the “Tennessee Waltz” on her birthday.

Her last years were spent in a nursing home. She is survived by son Sidney Cooper, who states that his mother's death was a serene one. In the end, it was a stomach virus that caused her to fall ill.

Cooper's mind hadn't succumbed to the burden of old age. Consultant Robert Young, working for Guinness in the gerontology section, first met her when she was 111. She kept busy by reading, he recalls of their meeting.

“At that age she was doing really well, she was able to read books,” he describes. “It's a sad day for me,” Young adds.

Her title will now go to 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, living in Johnston, Iowa. In 1997, the oldest person ever to be honored by Guinness passed away. French woman Jeanne Calment was 122 years old at the time.
Besse Cooper from Georgia was the oldest woman in the world
   Besse Cooper from Georgia was the oldest woman in the world
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