Hester Ford, the oldest living United States citizen, passed away peacefully over the weekend. She was 116.
Born on August 15, 1904, in Lancaster County, South Carolina, Ford grew up on her family’s farm, plowing the fields and picking their cotton crop.
In her long life, Ford saw two World Wars, two pandemics (the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the ongoing coronavirus), tremendous technological advancement, and 21 presidents.
She married her husband John Ford in 1919, and they were together for 45 years before he passed away, Fox 5 reported.
They had 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and 120 great-great-grandchildren.
Neighbors and local officials remembered her as a generous woman who visited the sick, sent food to those who were hungry, and opened her door to those in need. At her most recent birthday last summer, pictures show a small but alert African-American woman in a wheelchair wearing a pink birthday crown, beaming and waving as dozens of her descendants held a socially-distanced celebration.
“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,” her family said in a statement. “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.”