The US Oldest PersonCelebrates Her 116th Birthday

By Wongani Chipeta

Hester, an American national, was born in 1904, is the third oldest person in the world, behind 116-year-old Lucile Randon and 117-year-old Kane Tanaka, from Japan.

Hester got to celebrate yet another birthday with friends, family and members of the community driving by her house in Charlotte, North Carolina, honking and waving to mark the occasion.

Hester’s birthday usually draws a big crowd, with the family cooking food outside the house, but clearly in the age of Covid-19 a drive-by birthday bash was a better idea.

Asked by the Charlotte Observer what the secret was to her old age, she replied: “I don’t know.I just live right, all I know.”

Hester got married to John Ford when she was 14 and gave birth to the first of their 12 children when she was 15.

John died in 1963, when he was less than half of Hester’s present age. Their children have added 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren to the family, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Speaking at her birthday, Hester’s granddaughter Mary Hill, an ordained minister, said: “We just thank God for just keeping her here for us, because it gives us hope.

“We would never want her to be here if she was sick. We want her to have a great quality of life in her elder years. We don’t want her to be sick or anything, and trying to hold on. We’re just a blessed family.”

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