A Texan woman marked her 114th birthday surrounded by five generations of loved ones and companions. Holding the distinction of a “supercentenarian,” she holds the title of Texas’ eldest resident, the second-oldest in the entire United States, and the seventh-oldest globally. Despite her advanced age, she retains a youthful spirit and attributes her remarkable longevity to both the grace of God and a health-conscious way of life.
Elizabeth Francis, born in 1909, recently celebrated her birthday in Houston, joined by her family, among them her 94-year-old daughter, Dorothy Ray Williams. In a notable testament to her vitality, Francis is identified by Florida researcher Ben Meyer, as shared by KTRK-TV, as the second-oldest individual globally who continues to reside in her own residence.
Francis’ longevity seems to be genetic, with her sister living to be 106 and her daughter at 94. She also lived a healthy lifestyle, growing her own vegetables and avoiding fast food. “I’m very, very young. Look at me, I’m like a little young chicken,” Francis told KTRK-TV. When asked about her age, she replied, “I don’t know, I just thank the good Lord for keeping me.”
Her granddaughter, Ethel Harrison, told KTRK that Francis’ gift to others is the wisdom and advice she shares. “I think generosity, being generous,” Harrison said. “Treating people like you want to be treated, even though sometimes it might not be reciprocated, but that’s not the way God wants you to do. He wants you to be generous and kind.”
Francis never smoked or drank and ate “everything,” she said with a laugh. Her family also remembered how she always cooked homemade meals. “Whenever you went to her house, I don’t care what day of the week, she was cooking,” Harrison was quoted as saying.
In addition to her family, a film crew from Norway and a researcher from Florida came to record her birthday and present her with a plaque. Francis’s daughter, Dorothy Williams, expressed disbelief at her mother’s age. “They don’t say ‘you’re crazy,’ they just say ‘you’re lying.’”
Francis was born during President William Howard Taft’s administration, when 90% of U.S. newborns were born at home and women and black Americans were denied the right to vote. Her family considers her longevity a blessing, describing her as a lovely mother and grandmother and their “backbone.”
Francis has three grandkids, five great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren. Her healthy lifestyle is said to be a factor in her long life.
When asked why she’d lived so long, she simply said, “This is a blessing, the Lord’s blessing.”
Edie Ceccarelli, 115, beats Francis for the title in the United States, and Maria Branyas Morera tops the world charts at age 116, according to several groups that track the oldest living people, including the Gerontology Research Group.