Monday, June 30, 2014

JERALEAN TALLEY


JERALEAN TALLEY

      Today, Jeralean Kurtz Talley turns 115 years old.  Mrs. Talley, a native of Montrose, Georgia, holds on to her official title as  the oldest living person in the United States and the oldest living person outside the country of Japan.

Mrs. Talley was born on May 23, 1899 to Samuel James Kurtz and Amelia Kurtz.  William McKinley was President of the United States.  On May 23, 2014, some nineteen presidents, fourteen hundred plus full moons and 41,725 sunsets later, Ms. Jeralean  reaches yet another milestone in the time line of her longest life. 

Jeralean, who was among a dozen children of Samuel and Amelia Jones Kurtz, grew up in the outskirts of Montrose, Georgia in western Laurens County, Georgia.  Her grandfather, Andrew J. Kurtz, husband of Rachel Kurtz, was most likely a slave owned by Dr. William J. Kurtz,  who owned nearly two dozen slaves during the Civil War.

Jeralean and her family moved to Inkster, Wayne County, Michigan during a vast migration of African-American farm workers who left Laurens County in the 1920s for Detroit, Michigan. That group includes the family of world champion boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson and Ford Motor Company inventor and innovator, Claude Harvard.  

Jeralean married Alfred Talley, who died in the 1980s.  Although she was from large family,  Jeralean had only one child, a daughter, Thelma Holloway, who is now seventy-five years old. She has three grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. 

As for Talley, she credits her God for her longevity.  When asked by Congressman John Conyers as to what her secret to a long life was, she pointed upward and said, "The good Lord up above. If it wasn't for Him, none of us would be here."

Talley was almost 107 before she moved out of her home and into her daughter's home.  She gave up bowling when she was a mere 104.   And, she scored a very respectable 200 in her last game.
  
With 115 years behind her Jeralean has many stories to tell.  One of her favorites is the tale of her first and only attempt to drive a car. 

"I tried that one time," in her 30s, she said. 

"I  didn't hit the right one to make it go forward and it went backwards," Talley told Elisha Anderson of The Detroit Free Press.

When her husband Alfred yelled at her, she opened the door and got out of the car and never drove again.

A verified supercentenarian is a person who is at least 110 years old and whose age is documented by at three or more reliable documents as determined by an international body - the most respected organization being the Gerontology Research Group.

The world's oldest verified person ever was a French woman Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 years, 164 days.   Today, the oldest living person is a  Japanese woman,  Misao Okawa, who is 14 and one half months older than Talley. As of today, Jeralean Talley stands as the 31st  oldest verified living person since 1955 and is poised to move into 25th place within nine weeks. If Talley lives until July 18 of next year, she will be the 10th oldest verified person since 1955.  Verification before 1955 was often difficult because of unreliable or non-existent birth records. . 

Happy Birthday Ms. Jeralean! 

3 comments:

Henry Talley said...

I am Henry C. Talley V doing genealogy research and would like to know more about Mrs. Talley's husband Alfred. My grandfather is from Georgia and moved to Alabama. I am now 60 years old and now also live in Michigan. Any help is appreciated.

Respectfully,

Henry C. Talley V

Claudia Jordan said...

I Would like to know, is there an update on Mrs. Talley now? Thank you so much.

you are always in His care,
Evangelist Claudia Jordan

Anonymous said...

Henry C Talley V, I am doing my family history. I can try to help you find more on the Talley family. I have learned much about research in doing my own. Feel free to email me at vyctorya911@yahoo.com. My name is Vicki