Aug 18, 2020

America’s oldest woman turns 116

When you work in aged care, you see a lot of impressive birthdays. People with long and storied histories come into your life everyday, and once you reach a certain point, every birthday becomes a milestone. Today’s birthday milestone is up there with some of the most impressive. 

Believed to be America’s oldest living person, Hester Ford of North Carolina celebrated her 116th birthday this weekend. It’s not often that someone gets two Sweet 16s, but Hester rang it in in style. 

Born in South Carolina in 1904 during World War I, Hester has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for the past 59 years, and has become a local celebrity within her community. So much so that the mayor of Charlotte has declared August 15th ‘Mother Hester Ford Day’ in honour of her birthday. 

Married at the age of 14 in 1918, Hester’s husband, John Ford, died in 1963 at the age of 57. Having survived him by an extra 57 years, Hester has now lived twice as long as her late husband. With 12 children, 48 grandchildren and a whopping 200 great-grandchildren, some of her family came to celebrate with a drive through birthday party. 

Now the third oldest person in the world, Hester Ford says she doesn’t know how she’s been able to live so long. But if the photos of her birthday are anything to go by, she is much loved, cared for and appreciated by her family and community. 

Image source: WSOC-TV Charlotte

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