A woman celebrating her birthday this weekend is believed to be the oldest person living in the US.
Hester Ford, from Charlotte, North Carolina, celebrated her 116th birthday with some of her loved ones around her.
The mother-of-12 is believed to be the oldest person to live in the US, Metro reports, and joins the very selective club of supercentenarians around the world who are 110 or older.
With 48 grandchildren, Hester heads a large family, which counts 200 great-grandchildren in total.
She marked the event with a drive-thru birthday party with some of her family members on Thursday ahead of her actual birthday, which fell on Saturday.
Hester, who was born in South Carolina before the First World War in 1904 has become a celebrity in Charlotte, where she’s lived for the past 59 years.
She is so well-known in her community that Charlotte’s mayor, Vi Lyles, has declared August 15th ‘Mother Hester Ford Day’, in honour of her birthday.
Hester herself is confused as to how she’s managed to live so long.
She became the US’s oldest resident after the last title holder, New Yorker Alelia Murphy died at 115 years old in November 2019.
Alelia said she ate a banana for breakfast every day and did not require hospital treatment until 2008.
Hester is the matriarch of a large family and can count 12 children, 48 grandchildren and 200 great-grandchildren amongst her living family members.
She married her husband John Ford when she was 14, in 1918. John, who was a steel worker, died aged 57 in 1963, meaning she has survived him for 57 years, and has lived twice as long as him.
At 116, Hester is the world’s third-oldest living person after Japan’s Kane Tanaka, who turned 117 on January 2 and Lucile Randon, a French woman who is 116 years old, and only seven months older than Hester, having been born on 11 February 1904.
However, there is some debate over Hester’s exact date of birth.
She herself believes she was been born in 1905, which would make her 115, but new documents uncovered last year suggest she was born a year earlier in 1904.
If she was born in 1905 as she previously believed, Hester would still be the sixth oldest person in the world and would still be the oldest person to still be alive in the US.
The oldest person ever Jeanne Calment, from France, who lived to see 122 and 164 days and died on 4 August 1997.
The US’s oldest resident ever was Sarah Knauss, from Pennsylvania, who lived to reach 119 years and died on 30 December 1999.
Source: Daily Mail