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The Oldest Living Person in America Just Turned 115

Bessie Hendricks, the oldest person in America
Bessie Hendricks, the oldest person in America. Credit: @Supercentenarios / Twitter

Bessie Hendrick’s birthday is a very special one as she just turned 115. That makes her the oldest living person in America, a fact that has been celebrated throughout the U.S.A.

Mrs. Hendricks is also the fourth-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group CNN said. The organization records and provides certification for all people over 100 years, otherwise known as s.

21 presidents, two world wars, and the sinking of the Titanic

It is not only the turn of another year,  but also a historical event as Hendricks has lived through some of the most life-changing events of the past 115 years. Those include the roaring 1920s and bootleg beer. She was around when the first telephone, the first electric lights, and the first car were invented and the destruction and death wrought by Hitler and the two world wars.

Hendricks experienced the Cold War, McCarthyism, Elvis the Cuban crisis, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. She was a grown woman when desegregation, Civil Rights movement and the launch of the first space shuttle occurred. The supercentenarian has also lived to see Madonna revolutionize the music industry as rebellious female art and Microsoft and Apple in the world of technology.

Hendricks has also lived long enough to witness the inauguration of America’s first African-America President, America’s first African American Vice President, and the overturn of Roe vs. Wade.

All in all, Bessie Hendricks can be considered a walking, talking history textbook. Moreover, it seems she may be around a bit longer to tell those tales if her past is anything to go by.

Who is Hendricks, the oldest living person in America?

According to the Gerontology Research Group on Gerontology Wiki, Bessie Hendricks was born Bessie Laurena Sharkey on a farm in Carroll County, Iowa in November 7, 1907. At 13, her mother died, meaning she had to take on a new role for her younger siblings. Though she was responsible for maintaining the household and bringing up her brothers and sisters, she still managed to finish her education, and in 1926 became a teacher.

She met her husband Paul at a dance through a friend, who she married on June 27, 1930. In 1933, husband and wife moved to Lake City with their children, where they lived for the next 47 years.

Paul died one month before their 65th wedding anniversary. After his death, she focused even more on her children and took an active part in the church before Shady Oaks retirement home in Lake City.

There, Hendricks became the oldest validated living person after the death of Thelma Setcliffe on January 17th of this year.

“I don’t know how to put it into words,” Joan Schaffer, her daughter said according to KCCI, an affiliate of CNN. “It’s marvelous that we still have her.”

She herself had turned 90 years old just one day before her mother’s birthday. She is not the only one however rejoicing over her mother’s love of life and tenacity. On the contrary, she is one of very many.


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