Woman celebrating 115th birthday, oldest living person in US

LAKE CITY, Iowa (KCCI) – An Iowa woman celebrated her 115th birthday Monday, making her the oldest living person in the United States.

Bessie Hendricks has lived through 21 presidents, two World Wars, the Depression, the sinking of the Titanic, and two Chicago Cubs World Series Championships.

In addition to being the oldest living American, Henriques is the 10th oldest living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Hendrix spent his special day surrounded by his children, the oldest of whom is Joan Shaffer.

Shaffer celebrated his 90th birthday the day before.

“I don’t know how you put it into words,” Shaffer said. “It’s a wonder we still have him.”

All the children have the same description of their mother: she is hardworking and has been asked to do many things from her childhood.

“His mom died when he was about 13, I think mom was about 13,” Shaffer said. “After that, he raised his siblings. And when she taught school, she lived right across the street from where she taught, so she had no reason not to go and get to school.”

Shady Oaks Care Center hosted a unique birthday celebration with staff helping out with the festivities.

Henrik’s children all sang him their favorite song, “You Are My Sunshine.”

Her son, Leon Hendrix, said that his mother loved to sing.

“We used to take him for a spin at Shady Oaks, and every room we stayed in, he still sang ‘You Are My Sunshine,'” she said. “And … the residents look forward to it every day.”

Bessie Hendrix should be listening to her favorite song this time.

“He always cares about his family,” Leon Hendricks said. “She always did. Family came to mother first. Always.”

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