Texas woman celebrates her 114th birthday, attributing her long life to God: ‘Just the Lord keeping me here’

Elizabeth Francis of Houston, Texas, is a ‘supercentenarian’

By Gretchen EichenbergFox News

A Houston woman celebrated her 114th birthday last month, making her the oldest living person in Texas, the second-oldest person in the U.S. and the seventh-oldest person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRC), based in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Francis is part of an elite group of “supercentenarians,” or folks who have lived more than 110 years. 

There are more than 97,000 people in the United States who are classified as centenarians, yet there are far fewer supercentenarians, according to data from the World Economic Forum.

“She’s just always enjoyed giving,” her granddaughter Ethel Harrison, 68, told Fox News Digital. 

“I remember whenever we had a ceremony, or if we had an event, she was our biggest cheerleader,” Harrison added. 

“She was always there and she was always encouraging you to go on,” she also said. 

“Her main objective is to treat people the way you would want to be treated. I think that’s something that kind of stuck with me all my life.”

Born in Louisiana on July 25, 1909, Francis has lived through two world wars and now two global pandemics.

She never drove a car, but she worked outside the home, running the coffee shop at ABC’s Channel 13 in Houston during the 1970s and 80s. 

She attributes her ability to live a long life to “the Lord.”

“Just the Lord working with me and keeping me here,” Francis told Fox News Digital.

Francis said she used to walk for exercise, ate plenty of chicken and fresh vegetables to keep healthy and stayed away from “the bad stuff,” like smoking and drinking. 

“She had her own garden and she would eat whatever vegetables she raised, like mustard greens,” Harrison said. 

She also liked to share her food and her home with others.

“One quality is that she was always giving,” Harrison said. 

“She was always cooking and someone was always at the house eating. There was always food on the table. The gentleman that she actually rented her home from would come and eat breakfast over there in the mornings. She also shared whatever she grew in the garden with her neighbors.”

Harrison went on, “I learned from her that it’s better to give than to receive. It’s just the best [thing] to do. That’s one of the qualities that I picked up as a young girl watching her.”

Francis lives at home with her daughter Dorothy Williams — who is 94. 

She has three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren — all of whom were there for her big birthday. 

Having a houseful of loving relatives is another thing that Harrison said keeps her grandmother going.

“I think having everybody here every day and interacting with her is really good,” Harrison said. 

“That’s when we get the biggest smiles from her. She has a great-great-grandson who is 11 and when he comes over, even if she’s asleep, she wakes up with a smile because she loves having him come in and he loves coming [there],” she also said.

Harrison said she’s happy she can take a turn serving those like her grandmother, who were there for her as a child.

“You just remember things growing up and how they were always there for you and now I’m able to give back to them,” Harrison said. 

“Now I’m taking care of them like they did me. It’s just a really good feeling.”

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