Bessie Hendricks, the oldest living person in the U.S., died at age 115.
Hendricks, said to be the fourth oldest person in the world, died Tuesday at a senior living facility in Lake City, Iowa, according to The New York Post.
Born on Nov. 7, 1907, Hendricks taught at a one-room schoolhouse and raised five children, two of whom she outlived, with her husband Paul. They were one month shy of celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary when Paul Hendricks died on May 25, 1995.
On her 112th birthday, Bessie Hendricks told the Fort Dodge Messenger that "hard work" was her key to a long, successful life. However, her son Leon Hendricks was quick to point out that she "loves her sweets."
Bessie Hendricks had another secret.
"She said, 'Stay away from doctors,'" her daughter, Glenda Hendricks added, noting that her mother rarely took medication.
"She amazes us," Sara Casey, administrator of the senior living facility where Hendricks had lived, said in 2019. "A strong will and love of family keep Bessie going. She appreciates life so much."
Speaking with KCCI on Hendricks' 115th birthday last year, daughter, Joan Schaffer, who turned 90 the day before her mother's big day, emphasized how important family was to her.
"Her mother died when she was about 13. I think mom was about 13 years old. And she raised her siblings after that," Schaffer said.
Bessie Hendricks is survived by three of her children, nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 42 great-great-grandchildren.
Her death leaves Edie Ceccarelli of California as the oldest living American, according to the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles. Ceccarelli will turn 115 on Feb. 5.
The oldest living person in the world is currently Lucile Randon, a French nun who is 118. The oldest person ever recorded was another Frenchwoman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at 122 in 1997.
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