We say goodbye today to a Charlotte native who lived an incredible life. Hester Ford, the oldest living American has passed away at 116 years old. The Charlotte, North Carolina resident died peacefully in her home surrounded by her family.

Ford was born on a farm in Lancaster County, South Carolina living through many historical events, including the 1918 flu pandemic. She was married at 14 to John Ford and gave birth to the first of the couple’s 12 children at age 15. According to a report, she had 12 children, 48 grandchildren, and 108 great-grandchildren. She was born on August 15, 1904. Not only did she live through the Covid pandemic, but she also lived through the 1918 influenza pandemic.

She lived more than twice as long as her late husband, John Ford, who has passed away at age 57 in 1963. When asked what the secret to longevity is, she replied, “I just live right, all I know.”

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige