Hester Ford of Charlotte now listed as oldest American

Hester McCardell Ford claimed that title on Nov. 23, following the death of Alelia Murphy, a retired seamstress who died in New York City at age 114.

Hester-McCardell-Ford

Family, friends and community members recognized Hester McCardell Ford (left) on her 115th birthday. She is Charlotte's oldest resident. Photo: Qcitymetro

A Charlotte woman is now on record as being the oldest person alive in the United States – and the seventh-oldest human on the planet.

Hester McCardell Ford claimed that title on Nov. 23, following the death of Alelia Murphy, a retired seamstress who died in New York City at age 114.

Family members in Charlotte say Ford is actually 115 years young, which would make her older than Murphy. But Gerontology Research Group had her listed at 114 years and 108 days on the publication date of this article — just shy of Murphy’s 114 years and 140 days of life.

Qcitymetro was on hand this summer when Ford received a city proclamation recognizing Aug. 15 as Hester McCardell Ford Day.

Ford was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, in 1904. Back then, a loaf of bread cost about five cents, and travelers still got around by horseback.

During her lifespan, Ford had 12 children, 58 grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren. She moved to Charlotte in 1953.

Two years ago, WBTV posted a video of Ford reciting Psalm 23 from memory. The video now has been viewed more than 6.6 million times.

Ford’s last birthday was celebrated during an event hosted by Cooking Matters in Your Community, a nonprofit that educates families about healthy eating.

City Council members LaWana Mayfield and Dimple Ajmera presented the proclamation on behalf Mayor Vi Lyles. Afterward, attendees visited stations with samples of the various food groups that make up a healthy meal.

Tanisha Patterson-Powe, Ford’s great-granddaughter, said the newly established Hester McCardell Ford Family Foundation wants to make the celebration an annual event.

For what it’s worth: Of the 30 oldest humans on earth, only one — Chitetsu Watanabe of Japan — was a man. The website listed his age as 112 years, 271 days.

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