• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 30s

Oldest American celebrates 116th birthday

By CBS/AP 11:36 AM July 4, 2014
LITTLE ROCK, ARK –

A south Arkansas woman celebrated her 116th birthday Friday with cake, a party and a new title – she’s now officially the oldest confirmed living American and second-oldest person in the world, the Gerontology Research Group said.

Gertrude Weaver spent her birthday at home at Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation in Camden, about 100 miles southwest of Little Rock. This year’s festivities included the new award from the Gerontology Research Group, which analyzed U.S. Census records to determine that Weaver is the oldest living American, rather than 115-year-old Jeralean Talley, who was born in 1899.

The research group, which consults with the Guinness Book of World Records, found that the 1900 Census listed Weaver as 2 years old – putting her birthday in 1898, said Robert Young, the research group’s database administrator and senior consultant for Guinness.

That makes Weaver the second-oldest person in the world behind 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan and the 11th oldest person of all time, he said.

“Normally, 116 would be old enough to be the world’s oldest person,” Young said. “There’s kind of heavy competition at the moment.”

Weaver was born in southwest Arkansas near the border with Texas, and was married in 1915. She and her husband had four children, all of whom have died except for a 93-year-old son. Along with Census records, the Gerontology Research Group used Weaver’s 1915 marriage certificate, which listed her age as 17, to confirm her birth year, Young said.

Although no birth record exists for Weaver, she celebrates her birthday each year on July 4 and did the same this year. At her 115th birthday party last year, Weaver was “waving and just eating it all up,” said Vicki Vaughan, the marketing and admissions director at Silver Oaks.

“Most people want to know, `Well, can she talk?’” Vaughan said. “Her health is starting to decline a little bit this year – I can tell a difference from last year, but she still is up and gets out of the room and comes to all of her meals, comes to activities. She’ll laugh and smile and clap.”

Weaver first stayed at the Camden nursing home at the age of 104 after she suffered a broken hip, Vaughan said. But Weaver recovered after rehabilitation and moved back home with her granddaughter, before returning to the nursing home at the age of 109.

Scientists study the very old for clues about longevity, including geneticlifestyle,and environmental factors.

Weaver cited three factors for her longevity: “Trusting in the Lord, hard work and loving everybody.”

“You have to follow God. Don’t follow anyone else,” she told the Camden News this week. “Be obedient and follow the laws and don’t worry about anything. I’ve followed him for many, many years and I ain’t tired.”

CBS News/AP

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Unions turn to airwaves to push benefits for families of fallen peace officers

    by Liz Raines on May 03, 21:58

    Lawmakers have spent the past two days working through controversial criminal justice reform, outlined in Senate Bill 91. Public safety unions hope legislators will spend some of that time to approve a proposal that’s been in the Legislature for four years: providing medical benefits to families of peace officers killed in the line of duty. […]

  • News

    Mat-Su Borough School District to fill superintendent vacancy

    by Shannon Ballard on May 03, 21:22

    The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District is losing its superintendent, Dr. Deena Paramo, to the Anchorage School District. So where does that leave the MSBSD, the fastest growing school district in the state? Paramo led Valley schools for nearly five years. The Mat-Su school board described her as an “energizer bunny” and school board members acknowledged they have […]

  • News

    Study: Alaska one of the worst states for working moms

    by Bonney Bowman on May 03, 21:01

    Alaska is one of the worst states to live in if you’re a working mom, according to a new study conducted by WalletHub. Overall, Alaska ranked 47th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The study’s criteria included  childcare, wages and time off policies. Alaska ranked 40th for access to pediatric care, […]

  • Lifestyle

    Fairbanks sets world pollen record, Anchorage levels also high

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 03, 18:56

    It’s a world record allergy sufferers may not be happy to hear about — Fairbanks set it on Monday for the highest levels of birch pollen in a single 24 hour period. Allergy doctor Jeff Demain said Monday’s count shattered the old world record that was set in Sweden several years ago. “A level of […]

  • News

    Driver seriously injured in three-vehicle collision that closed Dowling Rd. roundabout

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 03, 18:01

    Last updated at 7:34 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3 The Anchorage Police Department briefly closed Dowling Road in both directions between the New and Old Seward Highways following a multi-vehicle collision that seriously injured a female driver. Three vehicles were involved in the crash, which occurred at 5:34 p.m. at the roundabout. Police said an […]

  • News

    Bethel’s first liquor store in more than 40 years opens

    by Associated Press on May 03, 16:50

    An Alaska town’s first liquor store in more than 40 years has opened, and the police chief there worries he won’t have enough officers to handle an expected spike in alcohol-related calls. The AC Quickstop opened to a small crowd Tuesday in Bethel, a community of about 6,200 people located in southwest Alaska and founded […]

  • Politics

    Cruz ends bid for Republican nomination

    by Associated Press on May 03, 16:46

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on campaign 2016 as voters in Indiana head to the polls for the state primary (all times Eastern): 8:20 p.m. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is ending his presidential campaign, eliminating the biggest impediment to Donald Trump’s march to the Republican nomination. Cruz’s campaign said he plans to drop out of […]

  • Lifestyle

    Nonprofit raises awareness of cancer risks and contaminants in the Bering Strait region

    by Laura Kraegel/KNOM on May 03, 16:40

    Between decommissioned defense sites and contaminated currents, the Bering Strait Region is particularly vulnerable to toxic pollution. That’s why representatives from Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) were in Nome last week. The nonprofit works to educate the public on environmental health and advocate for communities affected by contamination. This visit focused on one of […]