‘A pillar and stalwart’: Oldest living American dies at 116

U.S. & World

Fox 46 file photo

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) – The oldest living American and North Carolina resident, Hester Ford, has died at the age of 116, her family said on Facebook Saturday night.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Mother Hester McCardell Ford today,” the statement read. “She was a pillar and stalwart to our family and provided much-needed love, support and understanding to us all. She was the seed that sprouted leaves and branches which is now our family.”

According to Gerontology, Ford was the oldest living American and sixth-oldest person in the world.

Ford was born in Lancaster County, S.C. on August 15, 1904, and went on to have 12 children with her husband. She has more than 50 grandkids and 120 great-grandkids.

Ford married her husband, John Ford, at the age of 15 and they moved to Charlotte in 1953, where they lived for 10 years before he passed.

“Her light shined beyond her local area and she lived beyond a century with memories containing real life experience of over 100 years,” the statement continued. “She not only represented the advancement of our family but of the Black African American race and culture in our country.”

On Sept. 1, 2020, Mecklenburg County declared the day “Mother Hester McCardell Ford Day.”

Ford worked as a nanny for more than 20 years for two families in Myers Park and was a longstanding member of Macedonia Baptist Church.

“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,” the statement said.

“In closing, we would sincerely like to thank everyone for their support, extended gratitude as we keep her legacy alive. As we pause from our day-to-day activities let us reflect on how far we have come and where we are aspiring to go in the name and legacy of Mother Hester McCardell Ford.”

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