Hester Ford, oldest living American, dead at 115

Hester Ford, the oldest person in the United States, died on April 17, 2021. (Courtesy: WCNC)
Hester Ford, the oldest person in the United States, died on April 17, 2021. (Courtesy: WCNC) (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hester Ford, the oldest living person in the United States, died Saturday at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, her family said. She was 115.

Hester McCardell Ford was born Aug. 15, 1905, in Lancaster County, South Carolina, according to the Gerontology Research Group. Some U.S. census records place her birth year as 1904. She became the oldest person in the United States when Alelia Murphy died on Nov. 23, 2019, at the age of 114.

“She not only represented the advancement of our family but of the Black African American race and culture in our country. She was a reminder of how far we have come as people on this earth. She has been celebrated all over the world by local governments, community leaders, social media, foreign dignities and Presidents as a cherished jewel of society for holding the honor of being the oldest living person in America,” her family wrote in a Facebook post.

Ford had grown up picking cotton, plowing fields and canning vegetables before moving to Charlotte. She got married to her husband in South Carolina in 1921, and then raised a family in the city, according to WSOC-TV.

(Courtesy: WCNC) (Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

She had at least 12 children, 48 grandchildren and more than 200 great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

“Although she has passed, her legacy and memory will continue to live on through her family and everyone she has touched to make the world a better place for generations to come. In closing, we would sincerely like to thank everyone for their support, extended gratitude as we keep her legacy alive. As we pause from our day-to-day activities let us reflect on how far we have come and where we are aspiring to go in the name and legacy of Mother Hester McCardell Ford,” a Facebook post from her family read.

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