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BIOGRAPHY

Porter was born in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, on 31 January 1905, as one of eight children to parents Sylvester and Ella Kelly (somewhere “Kelley”). At the age of 18, she moved to Michigan.

At some point, she married Ray Porter. The couple started a successful small business called Porter’s Moving and Express. They lived in a big, historic home in Detroit and would sometimes rent out rooms. Despite not having children of their own, they took joy in sharing their financial success with their siblings, nieces, and nephews. The couple also dedicated time and money to their church in Detroit. When they weren’t working, the couple enjoyed traveling around the world, with a special affection for Paris.

When she entered the nursing home, members of the church visited her several times a year, bringing baskets of food. She celebrated her 110th birthday at a party with around 50 family and friends at Tendercare Health & Rehab Center in Taylor. At that time, she still had a living sister, Eldora Johnson, who was 93. She also had a brother, Thomas Nathaniel Kelly (15 July 1913 – 1 April 2019), who passed away at the age of 105.

Bessie Porter passed away in Detroit, Michigan, USA, on 25 July 2015, at the age of 110 years, 175 days.

RECOGNITION

At the time of death, she was the second-oldest (known) living person in the U.S. state of Michigan, behind Emma Didlake.

Her age was verified by Stefan Maglov and Jimmy Lindberg, and validated by LongeviQuest on 2 January 2024.

ATTRIBUTION

* “Family marks matriarch’s 110th birthday” – The News Herald, 4 February 2015

* “Thomas N. Kelly of Detroit, Michigan” – Michigan Stinson Funeral Home, April 2019

GALLERY

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