The Oldest Person In America, Bessie Hendricks, Dies At 115

Valeria Cova

Bessie Hendricks, an American citizen in Iowa, was the oldest person alive in the US. Unfortunately, she passed away last Tuesday, January 3rd, at 115 years old. Nevertheless, she was named the oldest person in the country and the fourth worldwide by the Gerontology Research Group in January 2022.

She Lived In The Same Town Her Whole Life

Bessie was born in Lake City on November 7th, 1907, and spent her last years living in the Shady Oaks Care Center in the same city. She lived through all the historical events you can imagine and was always described as a person who enjoyed living.

She Had A Big Family

She had five kids, Leon, Roland, Joan, Glenda, and Shirley, but only three outlived her. However, her family kept growing and ended up having nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 42 great-great-grandchildren.

Bessie Was Married For 65 Years

Unsplash | Frances Gunn

Hendricks grew up on a farm raising cattle and growing vegetables; the farm was her property until she and her husband sold it in 1979. She was happily married for 65 years to Paul Hendricks until he died in 1995, one month before their wedding anniversary.

Everything She Went Through

Unsplash | Stijn Swinnen

Though she was just a teenager during the Great Depression, by World War II, she was a teacher in a three-classroom school, where she worked for four years before meeting her husband. She also lived through the Spanish Flu, the Cold War, and of course, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hard Work Is The Answer

When she turned 112 years, she was asked what her secret was. Bessie said it was "hard work." Her friends added that she had a loving family that kept her going, yet, her son joked, saying she loved sweets, referencing candy as part of her secret.

She Shared Her Likes With Her Friends

elder hands
Unsplash | Danie Franco

Bessie Hendricks loved the song You Are My Sunshine and was a strong fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes. She was also known for knitting, which she kept doing despite being past 100 years.

Surrounded By Her Loved Ones

When she turned 115 last November, her care center dedicated her a Facebook post. They added some pictures of Bessie during her special day and ended with a reminder about how amazing she was. She spent the day with her three kids.

"You Are Amazing, Bessie"

Bessie Loved To Be With Her Children

bessie and her kids

Joan Schaffer, one of her daughters, who turned 90 days before Bessie's birthday, shared how surprised and thankful she was because her mother was still here. "It's wonderful we still got here," she added.

Her Fans Were Moved By Her Passing

condolences posts
facebook | facebook

When her grandson confirmed her passing, everyone on the Internet was deeply sad and sent their condolences to the family. She had a Facebook fan group dedicated to her life, where people posted their sympathy messages.

Bessie Will Be Missed

Many fans shared how she was a fantastic lady and wish they have the same luck as her to live a long joyful life. Someone wrote, "Bessie Hendricks seems like a cool lady. It would have been awesome to sit down and have a conversation with her about the world from her perspective."

The Details Of Her Funeral Were Shared

Unsplash | Eli Solitas

Dana Morris, who talked to NBC news, said they would host a service at the Lampe & Powers Funeral Home next Saturday, January 7th. The service will include an homage to her life and events, along with passages written by her family.

Her Passing Was A Worldwide News

Who's Got The Title Now?

edie ceccarelli

With Bessie's death, the oldest person in America would be Edie Ceccarelli, a woman in California who will turn 115 on February 5th. Still, the Guinness World Record holder for this title his Sister André, a French nun who will be 119 this year.