Standing where Camden Rd and Tremont Ave meet you will find this great view of Uptown.

Hester Ford was a pillar across the area. The Charlotte woman had witnessed a lot of the world’s history — 116 years worth. “She was a phenomenal woman, I want to say is because it is still shocking and fresh to me,” said Mary Hill, Hester Ford’s granddaughter.

Ford died on April 17 after living for well more than a century. She had been the oldest living American. “She would say, ‘No, Mary, what?’ Yes, grandma, you’re older than everybody in the whole United States,” Hill said. “She would laugh, chuckle.”

She died with her family at her side. “That day was regular,” said Hill. “We got her up…we bathed her in the bed. Once we got her up, we put her on the potty, took her blood pressure and vitals. Got her clothes together and started putting on her clothing and she was breaking OK.”

Then, Hill said, her Hester Ford’s breathing took a turn for the worse, and 911 was called.

Uptown building to light up in purple for Charlotte’s Hester Ford who recently died at 116
Uptown building to light up in purple for Charlotte’s Hester Ford who recently died at 116 

Her family announced plans to celebrate her this week. On Wednesday evening, the Duke Energy Center in uptown Charlotte will turn its lights purple as a tribute to Ford, whose favorite color was purple. Those lights over the Charlotte skyline shined purple on Tuesday, as well. Hill said her grandmother’s final days were filled with memories.

Hester Ford loved to write, play cards, and the “The Fish” game. As the matriarch of a large family, Ford has 12 children, 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and approximately 100 great-great-grandchildren.

Charlotte’s Hester Ford, the oldest living American, celebrates their 116th birthday. A public viewing will be held Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Wayne Russell Funeral Services, at 3715 Beatties Ford Road. Ford will be laid to rest with a graveside service at 12 pm Friday at York Memorial Park Cemetery, at 5151 South Tryon Street. Her family, friends, and community will celebrate her life all week.

Hester Ford, her family said, had faith, which was key to her long life. “She was a faith walker and that everything you see in this home was by faith,” Hill said. Ford’s family set up a memorial fund with Safe Alliance, a non-profit organization providing hope and healing to those impacted by domestic violence and sexual within Mecklenburg County, in her honor.