Hester Ford, Oldest American, Dies

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Hester Ford, who was believed to have been the oldest American, residing lengthy sufficient to have skilled two pandemics, each world wars, Jim Crow discrimination, civil rights actions and the elections of 21 presidents, died on Saturday at her dwelling in Charlotte, N.C.

Census data present conflicting data for her yr of delivery, however she was both 115 or 116. The Gerontology Analysis Group, which tracks supercentenarians, or individuals over the age of 110, listed her age as 115 years and 245 days.

Her dying was confirmed by her household in an announcement.

“She was a pillar and stalwart to our household and supplied a lot wanted love, assist and understanding to us all,” her great-granddaughter Tanisha Patterson-Powe stated within the assertion.

Mrs. Ford was believed to have been born on Aug. 15, 1905 or 1904, on a farm in Lancaster County, S.C., the place she grew up tilling fields and selecting cotton. Theodore Roosevelt was president on the time.

She married John Ford at 14 and gave delivery to the primary of her 12 youngsters at age 15.

The couple moved to Charlotte round 1960, and Mrs. Ford started working as a nanny. Mr. Ford died three years later, at 57. Mrs. Ford continued residing of their dwelling independently, till she was 108. Her relations insisted on transferring in to assist her after she fell in her bathtub and bruised her ribs.

Her eight daughters and 4 sons gave her 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at the least 120 great-great-grandchildren.

“She not solely represented the development of our household, however of the Black African-American race and tradition in our nation,” Ms. Patterson-Powe stated. “She was a reminder of how far we’ve come as individuals on this earth.”

Mrs. Ford celebrated her remaining birthday final yr in the course of the coronavirus pandemic with a socially distanced drive-by parade of family and friends members, who honked and waved from the road.

When requested what items she needed, Mrs. Ford instructed the Charlotte tv station WBTV, “Something that anyone’ll give me.”

The Gerontology Analysis Group lists the oldest residing individual on the earth as Kane Tanaka in Japan. She is 118 years and 114 days previous. The following oldest American is Thelma Sutcliffe, who’s 114 years and 207 days previous and lives in Nebraska.

Mrs. Ford’s household stated her day by day routine concerned a breakfast that all the time included half a banana, a visit exterior for contemporary air —  climate allowing — and sitting in her recliner household albums, doing puzzles and listening to gospel music.

When requested concerning the secret to her longevity, she instructed The Charlotte Observer, “I simply stay proper, all I do know.”

The Related Press contributed reporting.

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