Hours later, Daisey Bailey, the oldest living black person in the world and the fifth oldest person in the world, died at 10:03 p.m. in Detroit, Young said. Born March 30, 1896, in Tennessee, she was 113 years and 342 days old, Young said. The gerontology group certified her age using two Censuses, but her family believes she was born on the same day one year earlier, he added. Bailey, who suffered from dementia for the last 10 years, liked to garden and spend time with friends and family, said her granddaughter and caretaker Helen Arnold.
"She was a sweet person," Arnold said. "She just enjoyed life and people."
Growing up on a farm in Tennessee, Bailey helped heat the house the old-fashioned way. "She used to carry the wood on her shoulders," Arnold said. She also ironed and washed clothes to earn money for the family.
Bailey had four children and outlived them all. "She was like a mother to me," said Arnold, 73.
Bailey was born in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1896 to Frances and Fannie Flowers. She had 3 sisters; Myrtle, Pearl, and Gertie. Bailey, then aged just 14, married 20-year-old Will Ready in 1910. Ready died in the 1930s. Bailey worked on a plantation and did housework and cutting wood. After living in Wilson County all of her life, she moved to Pontiac, Michigan in 1943. She had four children (all deceased), 20 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren.
She moved into 25-year-old Helen Walker's residence in 1953 to help raise her young children. In the 1990s, she moved in with her 73-year-old granddaughter Helen Arnold, and lived in Detroit, Michigan till her death. She credited her longevity to always praying, loving, forgiving, and eating vegetables.