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Hats off to Besse Cooper and many happy returns as she celebrates her 116th birthday!  To what does she attribute her longevity? She offers sage advice: She minds her own business and she doesn't eat junk food.

According to Guinness World Records, Besse Cooper, of Monroe, Ga., is only the eighth person to ever reach the age of 116. She was born in the same year as writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.  


Besse Cooper celebrates her 116th birthday.

The world's oldest living person reached another milestone Sunday when she celebrated her Sweet 116.

Monroe, Georgia, woman Besse Cooper has become only the eighth person in the world — and the fourth American — verified to have turned that age, [Link Removed] 

Cooper, whose maiden name was Brown, was born on Aug. 26, 1896, in northern Tennessee — the same year as comedian George Burns and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In 1917 during World War I, she moved to Georgia to work as a schoolteacher. She later married Luther Cooper, and they raised four children together. He died in 1963 at age 68, [Link Removed] 

The newspaper reported last year that the supercentenarian is also a grandmother of 12, great-grandmother of 15 and great-great-grandmother of one.

Walton County officials held a ribbon cutting Friday to name a bridge in honor of Cooper, who resides in a nursing home and was unable to attend the ceremony.

"The older she has gotten the more wittier she has gotten," Cooper's third child, Sidney, reportedly said, adding that she had a message for the bridge-naming ceremony: "I'm glad I gave them a reason to name it."

Although Guinness World Records first called her the world's oldest living person in January 2011, she lost the title when it was discovered Maria Gomes Valentin, of Brazil, was born 48 days earlier.

Valentin died on June 21, 2011, just shy of her 115th birthday, and Cooper was again crowned the world's super senior.

Cooper could still surpass another American, Elizabeth Bolden, who was 116 years and 118 days when she died in 2006.

The person with the longest human lifespan ever recorded was Jeanne Calment, of France, who was born in 1875 and died in 1997 at the age of 122.

Cooper isn't really sure why she's lived so long, but has her theories, she told The Walton Tribune.

"I mind my own business," she said, "and I don't eat junk food."

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