Oldest person in the United States turns 115 in Iowa

An Iowa woman who was verified as the oldest living person in the United States earlier this year celebrated her 115th birthday.

Bessie Hendricks celebrated her 115th birthday with a party at Shady Oaks Care Center, where she lives in Lake City.

The party was attended by all three of Hendricks’ surviving children, including daughter Joan Schaffer, who celebrated her 90th birthday the previous day.

“I don’t know how you put it into words,” Schaffer told KCCI-TV. “It’s marvelous that we still have her.”

Hendricks’ own mother died when she was 13, leaving her to take care of her siblings.

“She’s always caring about her family,” her son, Leon Hendricks, said. “She always did that. Family came first to mom. Always.”

Hendricks became the oldest woman in the United States earlier this year, after the death of Thelma Sutcliffe at the age of 115 years and 108 days old. The Gerontology Research Group currently lists her as the fourth oldest person in the world.