By Sharif Paget and Claudia Dominguez,
Hester Ford, a North Carolina woman who was recognized as the oldest living American, died peacefully on Saturday in her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, her great-granddaughter Tanisha Patterson-Powe confirmed.
Ford was at least 115 years and 245 days old at the time of her death, according to the Gerontology Research Group, who verified her as the oldest living American in 2019. Her family, however, told CNN she was born on August 15, 1904, which would make her 116 years old.
Ford was born in Lancaster, South Carolina, to Peter and Frances McCardell. She went on to marry John Ford and had 12 children — eight girls and four boys.
“It is overwhelming, yet an awakening experience to realize my grandmother wasn’t just an ordinary woman, she was E-X-T-R-A-ordinary,” Patterson-Powe told CNN in an email.
“She never ‘fit into a one size fit all box’ as she was a master inventor and innovator — a trailblazer setting her own trends within the community and her home,” she said.
Patterson-Powe described her great-grandmother as steadfast and unmovable in the face of adversity.
“She never complained, never showed defeat or entertained a pity-party,” Patterson-Powe said.With Ford’s passing, the Gerontology Research Group lists Thelma Sutcliffe of Nebraska, born in 1906, as the oldest living American. The world’s oldest person is Kane Tanaka of Japan at 118 years old, it says.