Jeralean Talley

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Jeralean Talley
Born Jeralean Kurtz
May 23, 1899[1]
(age 116 years, 11 days)
Montrose, Georgia, United States
Residence Inkster, Michigan
Nationality American
Ethnicity African American
Known for Oldest living person (since April 6, 2015)
Predecessor Gertrude Weaver
Religion Christian (Baptist)
Spouse(s) Alfred Talley[2] (1893–1988)
(m. 1936–88; his death)[3]
Children One daughter
Parent(s) Samuel and Amelia Kurtz

Jeralean Talley (née Kurtz; born May 23, 1899) is an American supercentenarian who is, at the age of 116 years, 11 days, the verified world's oldest living person.

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.[4] Upon Weaver's death on April 6, 2015,[5] Talley became the oldest living American and oldest living person in the world.


Talley was born on May 23, 1899 in Georgia.[1] One of 12 children,[6] 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). They 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.[7] She has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.[8][9]

Talley only tried to drive a car once but pushed the wrong pedal, causing it to go in reverse rather than move forward. She never wanted to try again.[10]

Health and 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.[8][9]

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 U.S. President Barack Obama, who wrote that she was “part of an extraordinary generation”.[11] On her 116th birthday, Talley received another letter from Obama who wrote that the “breadth of her experience and depth of her wisdom reflects the long path our nation has traveled since 1899”.[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. ^ a b "Oldest Validated Living Supercentenarians". Gerontology Research Group. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Elisha (April 3, 2013). "Michigan woman now the oldest person in U.S.". USA Today. 
  3. ^ "Alfred Talley, "United States Census, 1940"". Family Search. 
  4. ^ "At 116, Arkansas woman named oldest American". MSN. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Chaffin, Sarah (April 6, 2015). "World's oldest person, Arkansan Gertrude Weaver, dies". KATV. Retrieved 6 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jeralean Talley, World's Oldest Person, Celebrates Her 116th Birthday". NBC News. May 23, 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Oldest American, Jeralean Talley, Turns 114 Years Old". May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Local centenarians honored at Charles H. Wright Museum’s Summer Theater Festival". The Michigan Citizen. July 25, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Happy 114th Birthday to Jeralean Talley, The Oldest Living American!". May 28, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ Anderson, Elisha (April 3, 2013). "Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Mich., was born May 23, 1899". USA Today. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Michigan woman celebrates 114th birthday with friends, family". Lansing State May 26, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Inkster's Jeralean Talley, world's oldest person, turns 116 Saturday". Detroit Free Press. May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "The oldest person in America turned 114 yesterday (PICTURED)". May 25, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
Preceded by
Gertrude Weaver
Oldest living American
April 6, 2015 — present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Gertrude Weaver
Oldest verified living person
April 6, 2015 — present
Succeeded by