Hester McCardell Ford. Photo: AP.
Hester McCardell Ford. Photo: AP.

Hester McCardell Ford’s Bio

Hester Ford (August 15, 1905 – 2021)

Age (as of February 2021): 115 years

Birthplace: Lancaster County, South Carolina

Home: Charlotte, North Carolina

Previous Occupation(s): Farm worker and nanny

Hester Ford believes that she was born in 1905 and that she is currently 114 years old, which makes her the oldest living person in the United States. However, some of her family members recently found census data that shows Ford may have actually been born in 1904. According to the census records from April 28, 1910, Ford is listed as 5, which would mean she was born in 1904.

When Ford was born, birth records weren’t a standard practice, so there’s really no way to know for sure if Ford was born in 1904 or 1905. Beside the newly found census info, Ford’s birthday is listed as 1905.

She married John Ford at age 14, and gave birth to the first of her 12 children at age 15. Her 12 children gave her 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren.

The couple moved to Charlotte, where she remained for the rest of her life. Her husband died in 1963 at age 57, three years after the couple moved to Charlotte. Hester Ford then lived in the home on her own, without assistance, until the age of 108, when she bruised ribs in a bathtub fall and her family members insisted on moving in to help. She lived in the home with family until her death.

Hester Ford still has an extremely sharp mind and excellent memory, which is demonstrated by the fact that she can recite several Bible verses, including her favorite Psalm 23.

Hester McCardell Ford - The Oldest Person in the US Died

Ford was the oldest living American when she died Saturday in Charlotte, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks “supercentenarians.” They listed her age as 115 years and 245 days.

“She was a pillar and stalwart to our family and provided much needed love, support and understanding to us all,” said her great-granddaughter, Tanisha Patterson-Powe, in a statement emailed to news outlets.

“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,” Patterson-Powe said.

In her final years, her family said her routine involved a breakfast that always included half a banana, a trip outside for fresh air, weather permitting, and sitting in her recliner looking at family albums, doing puzzles and listening to gospel music.

“I just live right, all I know,” she said when asked about the secret to her longevity.

List of Oldest People Alive in the US

9. Christine Ireland (January 19, 1908 – Present)

8. Irene Dunham (December 16, 1907 – Present)

7. Mila Mangold (November 14, 1907 – Present)

6. Bessie Hendricks (November 7, 1907 – Present)

5. Ermisna Theodore (September 12, 1907 – Present)

4. Maude Harris (August 15, 1907 – Present)

3. Florence Carroll (June 9, 1907 – Present)

2. Ellen Goodwill (February 2, 1907 – Present)

1. Thelma Sutcliffe (October 1, 1906 – Present)

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