When she turned 116 in August, a bridge was named in her honor in Monroe. Besse Cooper wasn’t able to attend the dedication, but smiled when told of the honor, her family said.
She was born Aug. 26, 1896, in Tennessee, but moved to Walton County during World War I to teach because teachers in Georgia made more money, her son previously told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She married her husband Luther in 1924 and stopped teaching school when she had her first child at age 33. Luther Cooper died in 1963.