America’s oldest person dies at 115: Supercentenarian Bessie Hendricks passes away in Iowa after living through 21 presidents, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and two world wars (after revealed the secret to long life is ‘hard work’ and sweets)
- Bessie Hendricks died on Tuesday at Shady Oaks Care Center in Lake City, Iowa
- Hendricks was a widow since 1995, had five children – two of whom she outlived
- The supercentenarian lived a remarkable life living through wars and recession
- She leaves her three children, nine grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren
Bessie Hendricks passed away at the Shady Oaks Care Center in Lake City, Iowa, on Tuesday, her funeral home announced.
The supercentenarian was born on November 7, 1907, and turned 115 two months ago, having taken over as the oldest living woman in the country last January.
She was also believed to be the fourth oldest person alive in the world before she died this week.
Hendricks revealed in an interview when she turned 110 the secret to living so long was ‘hard work’, while her son added she was partial to eating sweets.
Bessie Hendricks (pictured on her 115th birthday in November) passed away at the Shady Oaks Care Center in Lake City, Iowa, on Tuesday, her funeral home announced
The supercentenarian was born November 7, 1907, and turned 115 two months ago, having taken over as the oldest living woman in the country last January. She was around 23 years old in this photo
The Iowa native lived through the two world wars, the Cold War, the Korean War and the Iraq and Afghanistan War.
She grew up on a farm and raised three girls and two boys – Shirley, Joan, Roland, Glenda and Leon – and held a variety of jobs through the decades.
She was a school teacher and also went on to work on an assembly line at an ammunition plant during the Second World War – filling shells with gunpowder.
Five years ago, when she turned 110 she told the Fort Dodge Messenger ‘hard work’ the secret to her longevity.
But one of her children also revealed that his mother also ‘loved her sweets.’
She was also believed to be the fourth oldest person alive in the world before she died this week
Bessie and Paul Hendricks pictured in an undated photo. She lost him in 1995 a month before their 65th wedding anniversary
On her 101st birthday, a care center administrator told the Fort Dodge Messenger Hendricks ‘appreciates life so much’.
‘A strong will and love of family keep Bessie going,’ she added.
Hendricks was not only the oldest known living person in the US but also the fourth oldest living person in the world before her passing.
She lost her husband in 1995 just a month before their 65th wedding anniversary and also outlived two of her children.
She leaves behind three children, nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 42 great-great grandchildren.
A funeral service for Hendricks will be held at Lampe & Powers Funeral Home on Saturday.
The Gerontology Research Group reports Hendrick’s death leaves 114-year-old Edie Ceccarelli of California as the country’s oldest living person.
Hendricks wearing a dark dress and strand of beads is seen in this black and white photograph that was taken sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s
Hendricks was not only the oldest known living person in the US but also the fourth oldest living person in the world before her passing
A photo of the Iowa native smiling pretty when she turned 104 years young
Hendricks was celebrating her 114th birthday wearing a pink party hat surrounded by her three living children (left to right) Joan Schaffer, Leon Hendricks and Glenda Hendricks, who all live in Lake City, Iowa. The birthday photo was taken at Shady Oaks Care Center