Hester Ford, The Oldest Living American, Dies Aged 116

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 18 Apr 2021 14:52
Hester Ford, The Oldest Living American, Dies Aged 116WCNC/WBTV News/YouTube

Hester Ford, who held the title of oldest living American, has died at the age of 116.

She died peacefully at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by family on Saturday, April 17.


Up until her death, Ford was known as being the oldest living person in the US, according to data collected by the Gerontology Research Group.

She is survived by a large family that includes 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and approximately 120 great-great-grandchildren, who will remember her as ‘a cherished jewel of society’.

Oldest Living American, Hester Ford, Dies Aged 116Fox News

‘Her light shined beyond her local area and she lived beyond a century with memories containing real-life experience of over 100 years. She not only represented the advancement of our family but of the Black African American race and culture in our country,’ her great-granddaughter Tanisha Patterson-Powe told WBTV.


‘She was a reminder of how far we have come as people on this earth. She has been celebrated all over the world by local governments, community leaders, social media, foreign dignities and Presidents as a cherished jewel of society for holding the honour of being the oldest living person in America.’

Ford had a modest upbringing in Lancaster, South Carolina, where she planted and picked cotton on the farm where she lived, as well as ploughing the fields and cutting the wood, just like her male relatives.

She married husband John Ford when she was 15, before the pair moved to Charlotte together in 1953. They shared 45 years of marriage together, before he passed away in 1963.

‘Although she has passed, her legacy and memory will continue to live on through her family and everyone she has touched to make the world a better place for generations to come,’ her granddaughter continued.


If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing on to UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Charlotte, North Carolina, Now, US


  1. WBTV

    ‘Her light shined’: Charlotte’s Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 116 years old