Bessie Hendricks: Iowa woman believed to be longest-living American dies aged 115

Ms Hendricks once credited 'hard work' for her longevity

Bessie Laurena Hendricks, centre, celebrating her 115th birthday in November 2022. AP
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A woman in Iowa believed to be the oldest living person in the US, having lived through historic events ranging from the two world wars and the Great Depression to the Spanish flu and the Covid-19 pandemic, has passed away at age 115.

Bessie Hendricks died on Tuesday at a senior living facility in Lake City, according to Lampe and Powers Funeral Home.

Ms Hendricks was born on November 7, 1907, and had been listed by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group as the country's oldest living person.

She taught at a one-room schoolhouse in her native Calhoun County and raised five children, two of whom she outlived, according to USA Today.

When she turned 112, Ms Hendricks told local media that the secret of her long life was “hard work”. Her daughter said at the time that Ms Hendricks hardly ever took medication and enjoyed sweets.

On her 115th birthday, the Shady Oaks Care Centre, where Ms Hendricks lived, wrote: “We all wish Bessie H a very happy birthday for her 115th! She's had an awesome day celebrating with her family and friends. The cake, flowers, gifts and cards made the day extra special.”

Ms Hendricks's death has left Edie Ceccarelli of California as the oldest living American, the Gerontology Research Group data shows. Ms Ceccarelli is set to turn 115 on February 5.

Ms Hendricks's funeral service will be organised on Saturday at Lampe and Powers Funeral Home. It will include a tribute to her life and readings of memoirs written by her family, funeral director Dana Morris said.

Updated: January 06, 2023, 5:50 AM