The oldest person in America died at age 116 on Saturday. Hester Ford of Charlotte, North Carolina died peacefully at home surrounded by her family.
There was some dispute as to Ford’s actual age, according to Fox News. One batch of census records lists her birth date as Aug. 15, 1904, but another lists it as 1905. Still, last year, the Gerontology Research Group decided she was the oldest person in the country.
The woman’s husband died in 1963, after 45 years of marriage. She lived in the same place in Charlotte for more than 58 years, KHOU reported.
Hester Ford Lived Healthy Life
Ford reportedly ate half a banana for breakfast every day. She was asked for the secret to her long life last year.
Her response? “I just live right, all I know.”
Ford had 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and 120 great-great-grandchildren by the time she died.
“She just continues to be a blessing to us,” Mary Hill, one of Hester Ford’s grandchildren, said. “And she tells us all the time, You are here to be a blessing to someone else.”
Ford Was ‘Pillar’ to Her Family
Ford grew up in Lancaster, South Carolina and lived through seismic historical events. That included the 1918 flu pandemic. So the events of 2020 were not entirely new to her.
Ford was a devout woman who passed her faith on to her family. The family said in a statement that Ford was their rock, and while her death saddened them, they were sure it was a good day in Heaven.
“She was a pillar and stalwart to our family and provided much needed love, support and understanding to us all,” her family said in a statement posted to social media Saturday evening. “God saw fit to make her the matriarch of your family and blessed us to be her caretakers and recipients of her legacy.”
“She wanted people to have the type of faith that she had, to be able to believe that anything is possible,” Ford’s great-granddaughter Tanisha Patterson-Powe said.