Besse Cooper

MONROE — Besse Cooper is once again the world's oldest living person.

After a Brazilian woman’s family came forward last month, Cooper, who is 114 years old, was stripped of her title by Guinness World Records.

However, Maria Gomes Valentim died of multiple organ failure Tuesday.

On May 18, Guinness officials said Valentim was 48 days older than Cooper, of Monroe.

Guinness said Valentim was born July 9, 1896, in Carangola, Brazil, where she has lived all of her life. She married João Valentim in 1913, and he died in 1946. They had one son, four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Cooper was not told Valentim was older than her.

“We never really told her,” said Cooper's son Sidney “I don’t think she's as aware anymore. We're glad. It’s good to have her No. 1 again.”

Cooper was born Aug. 26, 1896, in Sullivan, Tenn. She moved to Walton County in the 1920s to teach and married Luther Cooper in 1924. He died in 1963. They had four children and 12 grandchildren, plus several great- and great-great-grandchildren.

Cooper was honored as the oldest living person upon the death of Eunice Sanborn, of Jacksonville, Texas, on Jan. 31 at the verified age of 114 years, 158 days. Her family said she was really a year older.

Cooper lives at a Monroe nursing facility and has been visited by Gov. Nathan Deal for her achievement.

A family-only party is planned for Cooper in August when she turns 115.

“We won’t do a lot this year,” her son said.  “She’s not up to as much celebration as she was.”

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