• 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

  • News

    AFN Day 3: Alaska Federation of Natives endorses Begich, Walker-Mallott

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 25, 21:29

    Throughout the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in Anchorage this week, a question was in the air — Would the largest Native organization in the state make candidate endorsements? After considerable debate — and in a rare move on the organization’s part — AFN made endorsements in both the governor and U.S. Senate race this […]

  • Sports

    UAA volleyball looks to keep the good times rolling

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 25, 20:06

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 25

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 25, 19:32

    Clouds came in today but are starting to be pushed out from the east. This will allow for more sunshine as we head into your Sunday afternoon. Daytime highs will barely make it into the the 40s for the next week. Sunshine and some clouds start to hit us as we head into Tuesday.

  • News

    Veterans get winter gear, other assistance at annual event

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 17:44

    Hundreds of veterans turned out to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Friday for the 22nd annual Stand Down program. The event is a yearly opportunity for organizations to give back to servicemen and servicewomen. Agencies were on-hand at the event to help with dental, medical, housing and employment assistance. A lot of veterans come […]

  • News

    US to recognize same-sex marriage in 6 new states

    by Associated Press on Oct 25, 16:38

    The federal government is recognizing gay marriage in six more states, extending federal benefits to those couples. Attorney General Eric Holder says the states are: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Saturday’s announcement brings the total number of states with federal recognition of same-sex marriage to 32, plus the District of Columbia. […]

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to multiple accidents on Glenn Highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 13:26

    As of 12 p.m. Saturday, the Anchorage Police Department says that there have been 20 accidents reported in the Anchorage area since midnight. APD says 11 of those accidents — two of which resulted in minor injuries — have happened on the Glenn Highway. This comes after the department sent out a warning to drivers […]

  • Sports

    South defeats West for state football title

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 25, 12:34

    Five weeks ago, the South High Wolverines and the West High Eagles met for a matchup, in which the Wolverines won 55-9. A month later, the two teams met for a chance at the state title on Oct. 24. South’s head coach John Lewis warned his team that a blowout like the first may not be […]

  • News

    Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Day 2: Courting the Native vote

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 24, 23:31

    Candidates have traditionally courted the Alaska Native vote at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this election-season ritual has reached a fever pitch this year. Some of that could be due to the formation of the Unity ticket; the merged campaigns of Bill Walker, who was running as an independent candidate for governor, and […]