The Oldest Living American Celebrates Her 116th Birthday

Hester Ford celebrated her 116th birthday Saturday, becoming the oldest person currently on record living in the U.S

[Aug. 17, 2020: Joshua Shavit]

Hester Ford has seen a lot in her lifetime, more than anyone in the United States.

She celebrated her 116th birthday Saturday, becoming the oldest person currently on record living in the U.S., according to data compiled by the Gerontology Research Group.

By comparison, the world's oldest living person is Kane Tanaka of Japan, who is 117 years old. Ford is now 21st on the all-time list of living longevity. Sarah Knauss, from Hollywood, Pennsylvania, who lived until she was 119 years and 97 days old, is at the top of the list.

Ford was born on a farm in Lancaster County, South Carolina. She was married at 14 to John Ford and gave birth to the first of the couple's 12 children at age 15. Hester took care of the house, farm and the children while John worked at a local steel mill. The couple eventually moved to Charlotte. John died in 1963. Ford had not been hospitalized in the first 108 years of her life.

This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, family and friends put on a drive-by party. She was wheeled out to the door of her home where she was celebrated by friends, family and her community. People were instructed to leave gifts at the bottom of the driveway, where they would later be collected and safely introduced to the house.

Ford has 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren.

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What can we learn?

According to WBTV, when asked about her secret to longevity, Ford said "I just live right, all I know."

A great article called "Longevity Tips from the Blue Zones" provides detailed advice on living your best and longest life.

Joseph Shavit
Joseph ShavitSpace, Technology and Medical News Writer
Joseph Shavit is the head science news writer with a passion for communicating complex scientific discoveries to a broad audience. With a strong background in both science, business, product management, media leadership and entrepreneurship, Joseph possesses the unique ability to bridge the gap between business and technology, making intricate scientific concepts accessible and engaging to readers of all backgrounds.