Sweet 116th Birthday Wishes to the World's Oldest Living Person

Walton County resident Besse Brown Cooper turned 116 today. More than a year ago, Cooper became the world's oldest living resident.

Walton County, and the world, have a very special Sweet 116th birthday to celebrate today – that of the world’s oldest living resident.

, was born 116 years ago today in Tennessee. She has lived in Monroe, Ga. since 1917 when she moved to Walton County after the end of World War I to teach in the community of Between.

Cooper was first certified the world’s oldest person in January 2011, but had to relinquish the title for a few months when it was discovered that Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentin was 48 days older. However, when Valentin died on June 21, 2011, Cooper became the world’s oldest person and she has held that title ever since. In recognition of that distinction, the bridge at New Hope Church Road in Between, where Cooper lived and taught for many years,. The dedication ceremony took place on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. 

Cooper has been reported to attribute her longevity to “minding her own business and not eating junk food,” although she also reportedly quipped to her grandson that she thought she should be given a box of chocolates when she first learned she had become the world’s oldest living person. Her son, Syndey, said his mother has become wittier as she has aged. When she was told Friday that a bridge was being named for her, Cooper told her grandson that she was glad to had given them a reason to name the bridge.

A public figure Facebook Page has been started in Cooper's honor and birthday wishes for her Sweet 116th birthday have begun flowing in from all over the world. Cooper is one of only eight people in the world to ever have reached the age of 116.

Kim Roberto August 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ms. Cooper!!!! You are beautiful!! Have a wonderful day celebrating your milestone and celebrity status :)
SUNKEN SUB August 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Enjoy the next 116............................. You WON'T have to repeat the past mistakes. :-)) Happy birthday SS 162
Crystal Huskey (Editor) August 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Wow! Would love to write her autobiography!
Kristin Phelps August 26, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Congratulations and happy 116th Besse, for more information on Besse or other supercentenarians(people over 110 years) we track all verified living supercentenarians at http://www.livingsupercentenarians.com.
Lester Lamar Bennett August 26, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Happy Birthday from Lamar Bennett and Guinelle Bennett Bearden. Mother and I live on Old Monroe Madison Highway; mother is 94, and I often tell her "Mother, just look at your neighbor, Miss Besse, if she can do it, YOU can, TOO!
Virginia Dudley December 17, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Miss Bessie, Hope this second chance you are given to celebrate another 16th Birthday + 100 years more was as special or better than your first Sweet 16! Happy Birthday and God Bless You and Your Family as they are blessed to have you for so long! I hope you have Many, Many More to celebrate! Much Love to You! From Virginia In Virginia!


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