Jeralean Talley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jeralean Talley
Born Jeralean Kurtz[1]
May 23, 1899[2]
(age 115 years, 188 days)
Montrose, Georgia
Residence Inkster, Michigan
Nationality American
Ethnicity African American
Known for Third oldest person in the world, second oldest in the US
Religion Christian (Baptist)
Spouse(s) Alfred Talley[3] (1893–1988)
(m. 1936–1988; his death)[4]
Children One:
Thelma Holloway (b. 1937)
Parents Samuel and Amelia Kurtz [5]

Jeralean Talley (born May 23, 1899)[6] is an African American supercentenarian who is, at the age of 115 years, 188 days, the second oldest living person in the United States and third verified oldest living person in the world behind Misao Okawa of Japan and Gertrude Weaver of the United States. She was previously thought to be the oldest living American, from the death of Elsie Thompson on March 21, 2013 until Gertrude Weaver was verified to be older in July 2014.[7]


Jeralean Kurtz was born in Montrose, Georgia on May 23, 1899. One of 11 siblings, she spent her early years living on a farm picking cotton and peanuts and digging sweet potatoes out of the ground. She moved to Inkster, Michigan, in 1935, and has lived there since. A year later, she married Alfred Talley (January 30, 1893 – October 17, 1988) and had one child, a daughter, Thelma Holloway, born in 1937. Jeralean and Alfred were wed for 52 years before he died in October 1988, at the age of 95.[8] She has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.[9][10]

She never drove a car, saying that she tried it once but pushed the wrong pedal, causing it to go in reverse rather than move forward. She never wanted to try again.[11]

Health, diet, lifestyle[edit]

According to her daughter Thelma, Jeralean stayed active in her later life by sewing dresses, making quilts and playing the slot machines at casinos. She bowled until she was 104, when her legs got too weak, but still goes on annual fishing trips with her friend Michael Kinloch and his son Tyler (who is also her Godson). In May 2013, at age 114, she caught 7 catfish.[9][10]

Talley is a member of the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, whose members refer to her as “Mother Talley”. In May 2013, they celebrated her 114th birthday by officially naming the church's driveway after her. Talley also received a personalised letter from President Barack Obama, who wrote that she was “part of an extraordinary generation”.[12]

She lives by the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. Known in the community for her wisdom and wit, she has sometimes been asked for advice. She has previously advised people to use common sense, saying “I don’t have much education but what little sense I got, I try to use it”.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kinship of Juanita Iatrice Lane". familytreemaker. 
  2. ^ "Oldest Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. Retrieved December 20, 2012. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Elisha (April 3, 2013). "Michigan woman now the oldest person in U.S.". USA Today. 
  4. ^ "Alfred Talley, "United States Census, 1940"". Family Search. 
  5. ^ "Samuel Kuntz, "United States Census, 1900"". Family Search. 
  6. ^ "Oldest Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. 
  7. ^ "At 116, Arkansas woman named oldest American". MSN. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  8. ^ "Oldest American, Jeralean Talley, Turns 114 Years Old". May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Local centenarians honored at Charles H. Wright Museum’s Summer Theater Festival". The Michigan Citizen. July 25, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Happy 114th Birthday to Jeralean Talley, The Oldest Living American!". May 28, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  11. ^ Anderson, Elisha (April 3, 2013). "Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Mich., was born May 23, 1899". USA Today. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Michigan woman celebrates 114th birthday with friends, family". Lansing State May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ "The oldest person in America turned 114 yesterday (PICTURED)". May 25, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013.