Hester Ford

Photo via: Twitter / @Supercentenaria

Hester Ford, the oldest living person in the United States died aged 115

Hester Ford, the oldest living American died surrounded by her family on Saturday, 17 April 2021. She is survived by dozens of children.

Hester Ford

Photo via: Twitter / @Supercentenaria

Hester Ford, the oldest living American, from North Carolina in the United States died at the age of either 115 or 116 years old on Saturday, 17 April 2021. Ford was surrounded by her family at the time of her passing, they issued a statement to news outlets, according to the Associated Press.

“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.

The Gerontology Research Group, a body that monitors “supercentenarians” listed Ford’s age as 115 years and 245 days, however, there are two census reports that list different ages, with 115 being the conservative estimate.


The woman who would go onto become the United States’ oldest living person was born on a farm in Lancaster Couny in South Carolina in 1905 (according to the conservative estimate of her age) and grew up picking cotton.

She wed John Ford at the age of 14 and gave birth to the first of her 12 children at 15, according to AP.  In 1960, the couple moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, which Ford would call home for the rest of her life. Her husband died three years after the move at the age of 57.

According to reports, Hester Ford lived alone without assistance until the ripe old age of 108. She fell and bruised her ribs, which prompted her family to insist that she allow them to move in and help her, which is how things remained until she died on Saturday.


She was the matriarch of approximately 325 children. Her 12 children resulted in 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren.

“Her light shined beyond her local area and she lived beyond a century with memories containing real life experience of over 100 years,” read a family statement posted to social media, according to WCNC Charlotte.

“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.

When asked about the secret to her longevity Ford reportedly said, “I just live right, all I know.”

Her family said half a banana with breakfast, a walk outside for fresh air, relaxing in her recliner and reminiscing over family albums, doing puzzles and listening to gospel music became a part of her routine in her final years.