CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If anyone knows the secret to longevity, it would be 115-year-old Hester Ford.
The Charlotte native quietly celebrated her birthday this past weekend with her family by her side. On her actual birthday, August 15th, Ford celebrated with the Charlotte community.
The moment you step inside Ford's home, you can feel the love from her neighbors. The house is adorned with birthday cards, balloons and gifts for the centenarian.
When asked how she managed to live so long, Ford didn't really have an answer to her success.
Her family said her faith is what has allowed her to live for more than 110 years.
"Her faith," Mary Hill, Ford's granddaughter, said about her long life. "Her faith and God and her love for mankind."
Ford's family said her home has been flooded with friends wanting to wish the 115-year-old well.
"The house was full again. And they just wanted to thank Ford for her prayers and just being a great neighbor," Hill said.
Ford has been living in the same home in Charlotte for more than 58 years.
"We are just glad to be apart of the fabric of Dalebrook and of Charlotte, North Carolina," Hill said.
Her family said she's lived in the same home for more than 50 years because [Charlotte] is home.
"Her church is 5 minutes away, she loves her church," Hill said.
Ford was born on August 15, 1904 in Lancaster, South Carolina when Theodore Roosevelt was elected to his second term as President of the United States. She worked on a farm where she not only planted and picked cotton but plowed the field and cut wood.
Ford was married and the couple had 12 children; eight girls and four boys.
She moved to Charlotte in 1953 where she worked for more than 20 years as a nanny for two families in Myers Park.
She has 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren and approximately 120 great-great-grandchildren.
The mayor of Charlotte has officially declared August 15th as "Mother Hester Ford Day." Her family hopes this allows her legacy to live on for hundreds of more years.
"Truly it's an honor and a privilege to have the leader of the city to be able to come and to celebrate with us," said Clayton Harris, Ford's grandson. "Like I said, family is very important and to just know that our granny is being celebrated in such a way. It's an honor and a privilege."
Ford's party Thursday night focused on health and wellness.
"Leaving a legacy of taking care of your body, taking care of your spirit and your mind is so important to granny," Hill said.
If you ask Ford how she’s feeling, she’ll tell you she’s ready.
“I’m ready to go home,” Ford said.