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Nyleptha Roberts
Born March 12, 1898(1898-03-12)
(age &0000000000000111.000000111 years, &0000000000000362.000000362 days)
Sparta, Tennessee,
United States



Nyleptha Matilda Shell Roberts née Bryant (born March 12, 1898 in White County, Tennessee) is the oldest living person in Tennessee. She is the oldest daughter of John Douglas Bryant, Sr. (1871–1932) and Molly Victoria Whitaker (1879–1957), and was their second child. They had 12 in all, and lived in Bon Air, Tennessee.

Nyleptha, who was named after the good queen in Henry Rider Haggard's adventure novels, loved to tell jokes and ice skate during her early years. She attended school in a small, country school house, and remembers seeing her first automobile in 1907, when she was 9 years old. At the age of 10, her mother taught her to sew, and she would make patterns and sew many of her own clothes for many years. In 1912, her father bought her an organ for $79, and she would learn to play by ear.

First Marriage

Growing up, Nyleptha's personality attracted the attention of many boys, but Aaron Shell stood out. On September 22, 1922, she married Shell, who was born on March 1, 1893 in Old Town, Tennessee. Their first child, Columbus Leon, was born the next year. Eventually, they moved to Stone, Kentucky, where Shell became the manager of a coal mine. As the Kentucky coal industry prospered, so did their family, adding Johnny Alvin and Juanita over the next few years. During that time, Nyleptha managed a grocery store in the town, and she purchased their first car, not telling Shell until she arrive home driving it that night. Shell died at age 62 on September 18, 1955.

Second Marriage

In 1958, Nyleptha moved to Chicago, Illinois to start over. She worked at a clothing store, and also a manager of a laundry service. In 1964, her son Johnny became ill, and she returned to Tennessee, building a home in Sparta. In 1978, when Nyleptha was 80, she married Hubert H. Roberts, who was born on January 1, 1900. The two travelled all over the country, visiting 26 different states. Their family continued to expand, and Nyleptha became the grandmother to three grandsons and one granddaughter.

After only 8 years together, Hubert died in White County, Tennessee at age 86, on December 20, 1986. He was buried in Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, White County, Tennessee.

Later Years

Nyleptha continued to live in her own home until she was 107 years old. At that time, she moved to Life Care Center of Sparta. There, she passes her time as the facility librarian and making soap fish, small statues of aquatic creatures made with a bar of soap, cloth, beads and other craft materials. She also receives a great deal of attention, as she is the oldest living person in Tennessee, and the oldest resident in all of the facilities managed by Life Care Centers of America, the largest privately-held nursing facility company in the U.S.

She has been featured in numerous newspaper articles and in Life Care Leader Magazine. She is a registered celebrity on and has had resolutions honoring her passed in the Tennessee General Assembly. She has also received letters of congratulations on her birthdays from governors and presidents.


See also


  1. ^ Interview with Bryant, John Douglas, Jr., 2234 Tartan Road, Anderson, Indiana 46012.
  2. ^ Interview with Nyleptha Roberts in 2000.
  3. ^ Life Care Center of Sparta resident turns 110
  4. ^ CLINTON: Birthday wish not carried out, for now
  5. ^ Jodi Herod, Fall/Winter 2009 "A Life Well Lived" Life Care Leader Magazine


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