Besse Cooper, World's Oldest Person, Turns 116
Born in Sullivan County, Tennessee, USA, in 1896, Cooper worked as a teacher in her youth, beginning in 1917 when she was 19, before leaving the profession in her 30s.
Following her departure from the teaching profession, she had a total of four children, all of whom are still living, by her husband Luther Cooper. She was married for 39 years; Luther died in 1963, aged 68. It was reported that following his death, Cooper continued to live on her own until she was 105.
First recognised as the world's oldest person following the death of Eunice Sanborn of Texas, USA, on 31 January 2011, Cooper's title was supplanted in May the same year by Brazilian Maria Gomes Valentim, recognised that month as being 48 days older than Cooper. Valentim's death on 21 June 2011 passed the title back to Cooper, one she has held since, for more than one year to date.
On 24 August 2012, two days prior to Cooper's 116th birthday, a bridge in Between, Georgia, where she taught in her youth, was officially dedicated the Besse Cooper Bridge in her honour. Cooper did not attend the dedication ceremony in person that day, but relayed a message through her son, Sidney Cooper: "I'm glad I gave them a reason to name it."
Click for a report from Guinness World Records.