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Life and Religion

Live long and prosper: Hester Ford celebrates her 116th birthday
Family gathers for America's oldest woman
 
Published Wednesday, August 19, 2020 11:00 am
by Amanda Raymond | For The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Hester Ford, America’s oldest living woman, celebrated her 116th birthday Aug. 15 at her Charlotte home. A mother of 12, Ford was joined by some of her 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren. For a historic perspective, in 1904, the year she was born, Theodore Roosevelt was president, women couldn’t vote, and the first airplane flight had taken place a year earlier. Television was 23 years away from reality and the first iPhone was 103 years away from production.

When Hester Ford’s granddaughter Mary Hill asks her to recite Psalm 23, Ford doesn’t just murmur through the verses in a bored way one might expect someone over 100 years old to do. Her voice is strong and clear. Every phrase is punctuated, stressed as if her faith and conviction get stronger with every breath. Even with dementia, she can still do it today at 116 years old.

Ford, America’s oldest woman, celebrated her birthday Aug. 15 at her home in Charlotte.

According to the World Health Organization, the elderly are at higher risk of severe cases of COVID-19. With that in mind, Ford’s family decided a drive-thru celebration was the safest way to mark the occasion. Friends and family members honked their horns and waved as they drove by Ford sitting in the doorway of her home. Ford waved right back.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said.

Guests were told to leave gifts on a table at the bottom of the driveway, where they were also able to pick up cupcakes and water. After the parade, everyone got out of their cars to sing “Happy Birthday” to Ford while she sat in front of her cake.

Hill said cards and flowers fill the living room—and they’re still coming. Her voice broke as she thought about how grateful she was for everyone’s love, well wishes and kind gestures.

“She knew on Saturday that she was loved and appreciated,” Hill said.

Ford was born in South Carolina on Aug. 15, 1905, according to the Gerontology Research Group. That would make her 115 years old and the sixth oldest person in the world, although there is some dispute about her age.

Her family says she was actually born in 1904, so they celebrated her 116th birthday.

Ford moved to Charlotte in the 1950s with her husband John, who died in 1963. She has 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great grandchildren and at least 120 great-great grandchildren.

Darrica Brown, a nurse with Prospero Health, was hired as Ford’s nurse after a hospitalization last September. Brown equipped Ford with a GrandPad so they could communicate virtually.

Brown said Ford has had a few health issues in the last few months, like trouble swallowing liquids, a stubbed toe and allergy symptoms. Collaboration with Ford’s health care providers prevented what may have resulted in hospital visits.

“She’s a great patient,” Brown said. “She cooperates with the caregivers and the family.”

Brown said the first time she connected with Ford, Ford took the call and continued the gospel hymn she was already singing. She ended the call by praying for Brown.

Brown said Ford loves the Lord, and “anytime you talk to her, you would know it.”

That falls right in line with how Hill describes her grandmother: a strong, devout woman of God who would go out of her way to help a neighbor in need. And not for accolades or praise—because it was the right thing to do.

“If her neighbor was sick, she would go and clean their house or make dinner for them or take care of their children. That’s the type of woman my grandmother is,” Hill said.

Her faith is evident in the advice she gives her family: “Live so that the Lord can use you. Live right.”

Hill said her grandmother has been the “glue that keeps the family together.” She taught her about determination and faith. Ford also had a way of making all of her grandchildren feel like they were her favorite.

“She’s always been an encourager to the family, but especially me,” she said.

Hill said they will continue celebrating Ford’s birthday all month. Cards and gift cards are welcome, but if you’re thinking about sending flowers, Hill asks for donations to the National Kidney Foundation in Ford’s name instead.

Hill said Ford went to bed after the drive-thru celebration with a grin on her face. Hill asked if she had a good time, and Ford said she did.

“There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her family. She’s truly a matriarch,” Hill said. “England has Queen Elizabeth. We have Queen Hester.”

 

 

Comments

What a blessing. Love and hugs.
Posted on October 25, 2020
 
Happy Birthday Elder, If you get this message did you know a Pauline Ford by any chance? She passed away in 95 or 96 ?
Posted on October 11, 2020
 
To a Mighty Woman Of God! Oh what your eyes have seen , an God chose you! May the peace of A Loving, Caring & Merciful God continue to be with you! I am Honored to even learn about your Blessed life! To God Be Praised!
Happy Blessed Brithday?
Posted on September 11, 2020
 
WISHING you a GOD-BLESSED BIRTHDAY many MONTHs! Everyday is a new birth day through Jesus Christ, so we are to celebrate the life cycle that GOD has afforded each of us, through Jesus Christ's death on The Cross. May the GOD of CREATION continue to bless you with love and joy from your family and friends, dear Hester Ford! In Jesus's name we pray. AMEN. Sincerely, Denise L. Clair from Melbourne Australia.
Posted on September 8, 2020
 
What A magnificent woman...
Happy Birthday to You
Queen Hester Ford ,
It is a pleasure to meet you,
I wish I could do so in person
You are truly a woman of God
a inspiration to ALL.
Maybe next year we can to come see you when this Covid19 is over
but for now may you have a wonderful birthday,
I like to celebrate my birthday for the whole month also..






Happy Birthday Sweetie ?
Posted on September 8, 2020
 
Amazing
Posted on September 7, 2020
 

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