Hester McCardell Ford, the oldest living American, has reportedly passed away in Charlotte, N.C.,. She was 116.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Ford died in her home peacefully on Saturday (April 17). Her husband, John Ford, passed away at age 57 in 1963.
Ford was born on a farm in Lancaster County, South Carolina. Data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Hester was born in 1905, but another set of Census Bureau documents reports that she was born in 1904, according to CBS News. However, according to CNN, her family says Ford was born on August 15, 1904.
“She was a pillar and stalwart to our family and provided much needed love, support and understanding to us all,” Tanisha Patterson-Powe, Ford’s great-granddaughter, said in a statement emailed to the newspaper on Saturday.
She has 12 children, 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren.
“She was the seed that sprouted leaves and branches which is now our family. God saw fit to make her the matriarch of our family and blessed us to be her caretakers and recipients of her legacy.”
In 2020, Charlotte’s mayor, Vi Lyles, officially declared August 15 “Mother Hester Ford Day,” in honor of her 116th birthday.