Oldest American, Iowa native, dies at age 115

(ABC 6 News) – The oldest living American, an Iowa native, has died at the age of 115.

Bessie Hendricks, of Lake City located in Calhoun County in western Iowa, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at the Shady Oaks Care Center, according to Lampe & Powers Funeral Home in Lake City.

Bessie was born on November 7th, 1907 in Carroll County. She lived through 21 presidents, two world wars, the Great Depression, the sinking of the Titanic, and both the Spanish flu and COVID-19 pandemics among other things.

She was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse and raised a family that grew to include five children, nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 42 great-great-grandchildren. She is survived by three of her children.

Bessie said the secret to a long life was hard work. She continued crocheting past her 100th birthday, and was also a lifelong Iowa Hawkeye fan.

Hendricks’ death leaves Edie Ceccarelli of California as the oldest living American, according to the Gerontology Research Group. She is set to turn 115-years-old on Feb. 5.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.