A North Carolina woman who lived through the Spanish flu, World Wars I and II and the civil rights movement died Sunday, her family said.
Hester Ford was 115 or 116 years old. Her family said US Census Bureau records suggest she was born in 1905, but another set of Census Bureau records point to 1904, CBS reported. At 115 or 116, Ford was the oldest person in the United States as of July 30, according to data compiled by the Gerontology Research Group.
Ford was born on a farm in Lancaster County, South Carolina. She grew up collecting cotton and married her husband John when she was 14. They moved to Charlotte in 1960, where her husband died three years later and where Ford lived the rest of his life.
“She was a pillar and pillar of our family and gave us all the love, support and understanding we so badly needed,” her great-granddaughter, Tanisha Patterson-Powe, said in a statement. emailed to the Charlotte Observer.
Ford lived alone in her home, without assistance, until the age of 108, when she bruised her ribs in a fall from the tub. The family members then moved into his house to help the supercentennial.
In addition to his 12 children, Ford had 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren.
“She represented not only the advancement of our family, but also the advancement of the race and culture of black African Americans in our country. She reminded us of how far we have come as a people to this land,” he said. said Patterson-Powe.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, relatives and friends drove to Ford in North Carolina to celebrate his birthday in August, leaving gifts in the aisle.
“I’m just living well, all I know,” she told her granddaughter at the time.
The oldest person in the world is 117-year-old Japanese Kane Tanaka.
The longest a human has ever lived is 122 years. Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman, died in August 1997.
Contributor: Wyatte Grantham-Phillips; The Associated Press