Tuesday, America lost the oldest living person in its history; a woman who had lived to the grand age of 115.
This week, Bessie Hendricks – the oldest living person in the United States and fourth worldwide according to Gerontology Research Group – peacefully passed away at Shady Oaks Care Center in Lake City, Iowa.
Born in the city on November 7, 1907, and raised on a farm, Hendricks overcame adversity throughout her lifetime. She was blessed with five children whom she loved dearly; unfortunately, two of them passed away before her own departure from this world.
On June 27th, 1930, she exchanged her vows with Paul and happily welcomed their five children into the world: Shirley, Joan, Roland, Glenda, and Leon.
During WWII, Hendricks displayed his educational prowess by teaching in a single-classroom schoolhouse, as well as fueling the war effort with ammunition production on an assembly line. This was reported by the Des Moines Register.
Just a month shy of their 65th wedding anniversary, Hendricks and her husband sadly passed away on May 25, 1995.
This supercentenarian has witnessed history unfold right before their eyes; from the roaring ’20s to the 21st-century pandemic, they have lived through it all. From the Spanish Influenza to two World Wars, Vietnam War and Iraq War as well as Cold War – this remarkable individual survived it all!
When she marked her 110th birthday, Hendricks attributed the key to a rewarding life of longevity to “hard work”. However, her son confessed that it was not only diligence but also an adoration for sweet treats which kept his mother’s spirit alive!
“A strong will and love of family keep Bessie going,” a care center person stated on her birthday in 2019. “She appreciates life so much.”
She is now blessed to have three of her beloved children, nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 42 great-great-grandchildren survive her.
Now, with the passing of Hendricks, Edie Ceccarelli – a 115-year-old resident from California who celebrates her birthday on Feb 5th- is America’s oldest living person.