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At 116, Arkansas woman named oldest American



By Jill Bleed

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - 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.

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."

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rodshiley71 July 04 2014 at 4:04 PM

God bless you Gertrude. Remember and cherish the good old days because our government has taken them away forever.

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3 replies
gem46er July 04 2014 at 5:17 PM

She provides good advice for all of us...and for our nation.

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kkoloff July 04 2014 at 3:18 PM

Imagine living through 3 centuries, 1800's to today.

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4 replies
Iselin007 July 04 2014 at 5:45 PM

She was born at a time about 33 years after the Civil War had ended when the South still held crudges against the North and racial problems still kept people separated. She probably out lived most of the people in her church that she knew, most of her family, and friends. She must be a strong woman to endure all that time.

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4 replies
floatgod July 04 2014 at 5:56 PM

Agnostics and atheists need not apply.

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4 replies
globeimpex July 04 2014 at 5:20 PM

comment to Rodshiley: Government did not take away anything from people. Today there are more millionaires and rich people than they were back then. The difference comes from some whom do not want to work hard enough and educate themselves enough to be comfortable. These days the younger generation wants everything in life ,without trying to work hard enough.

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2 replies
p1943ship globeimpex July 04 2014 at 6:21 PM

Bull feathers ! Rodshiley is right.

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rodshiley71 globeimpex July 04 2014 at 7:08 PM

That's funny. I would expect there to be more millionaires since there are twice as many people. But if you check the records the ratio of poor vs rich is much larger today with the middle class becoming poor. I know hundreds who are honest hardworking people who have become poor because of the government taking everything away from them. The only thing our government has given us is inflation. They care only about themselves and their own agenda. Tell me what better use we could get from the $365 billion we give every year to support the illegal aliens, and they allow more in every day. Ask the 60% of college grads why they cannot find a job in their field of study and have to settle for a low paying job elsewhere while trying to pay back their student loan that the government is making a killing off of. Why has our government raped our Social Security system leaving our retirees with pennies on the dollar? If it's not the government destroying America, then tell us all who is

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1 reply
Kashmir rodshiley71 July 05 2014 at 3:08 AM

Couple of things I would like to point out on your comment. #1 Collage grades not getting job in their feild. That is because they chose the wrong feild. If they had chosen Any sort of Engineering feild belive me they would be showered by money. take a look around you and see how many outsiders are here and making bags of maney. espacially Indians. Not that I am against them. but you make a right choice in your life. I myself am software engineer and I live cofortable live. So my friend don't blame the Goverment blame your wrong choice.
Secondly they Illigal stuff. take a one more close look around you and see what kind of job those illigals hold. No American will do that kind of work. that mean someone is hiring those illigal people for their own benefit. And as for Government is concern no matter who is in the office Democrat or Republican they Done't give a fat rat about people. they are there for themselves. So it is time to wake up and Retaliate.

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oujoou July 04 2014 at 4:31 PM

Wow. That's getting up there. :) Love the flowers. So she recommends following god and the law and not worrying. I think that sounds like a good way to be. People might wonder if it's pointless to live THIS long. I think when someone IS 116 and LOOKS 116 . . . it makes the world of people feel younger. :) You're 60 and you see a photo of her . . . you're a baby again. :) If that isn't magical . . . you have 1 foot in the grave. :(

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1 reply
mercymfa oujoou July 05 2014 at 12:08 AM

when that happens to her, her body will be in the grave, but her spirit will be in heaven. He who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ receive eternal life.

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alfredschrader July 04 2014 at 4:25 PM

My guess is she still has her original teeth. To live that long your chewing and digestion have to work well.
If you plan on living a good healthy long life, take good care of your teeth.
May God bless her and you.

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3 replies
Franco July 04 2014 at 6:39 PM

My wife is a little older than I am, but I slept way less hours every night of my life compared to her. Who is actually older? I don't consider being in a coma living, neither sleeping is living, in my book!

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1 reply
gilbertpaulaj Franco July 04 2014 at 6:47 PM

The amount of sleep a person needs vary from person to person. I hope you accomplished something great with the extra time you were awake. Try counting your blessings. Some people can't sleep because they have too much anxiety.

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rude July 04 2014 at 6:10 PM

So, they're saying Gertie is the oldest??? Well, I used to babysit her!!

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