Elizabeth Francis Recently Celebrated Her 114th Birthday and is Now Sharing Her Secrets to a Long and Fruitful Life

Elizabeth Francis is a name most people have probably never heard of, but her life story – and life advice – are well worth the listen. The supercentenarian – which is just another word for those who live to see 110 years old – was born in Louisiana on July 25, 1909 and recently celebrated her 114th birthday. 

That not only makes her the oldest living person in the state of Texas – where she moved when she was a little girl – but it makes her the second-oldest person in the United States and the seventh-oldest person in the entire world. Considering everything that has happened since 1909, it’s a miracle she’s alive today. 

I mean, we’re talking about living through both World War I and World War II, the Great Depression, the Spanish Flu, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Through all that hardship, she has found a way to thrive and is alive to tell the tale. Along the way, she has learned a lot about life, health, and wellness. 

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Elizabeth Francis might be confined to her bed these days and her memory might not be as sharp as it was decades ago, but she’s still able to recognize her family members – she lives with her 94-year-old daughter, Dorothy Williams – and has the wherewithal to understand how impressive her longevity is. 

In an effort to honor the life she has lived, celebrate the life she has left, and learn some of her secrets, TODAY spoke with Elizabeth and her granddaughter, Ethel Harrison. What they learned is that longevity runs in their family – her father lived to see 99 and she had two sisters who lived to see 106 and 95. 

Among the many pieces of advice Elizabeth has for the rest of the world, some of the more important are to love everybody, spend time with your family, maintain a garden with fresh produce, cook fresh food, walk regularly, avoid alcohol and tobacco, stay optimistic, stay faithful, and find your purpose in life. 

“She enjoyed her family. We would always have her over. We’re always doing things together as a family unit. (It’s) interaction and just having love for one another and just being present,” Ethel Harrison said of her 114-year-old grandmother. “Try to do the best thing you can to everybody. Love everybody.”

Elizabeth Francis enjoyed cooking and rarely ate at fast food restaurants. She was always taking care of herself and making a conscious effort to stay healthy. “Her life basically was pretty simple. She didn’t go out to parties and stuff like that. She was more of a homebody. She would go to church,” Harrison says. 

Elizabeth Francis Credits a Higher Power for Keeping Her Alive

Even at 114 years old, Elizabeth Francis still finds joy in life and loves connecting with or meeting new people. She greeted the TODAY reporter with a fervent and zealous ‘Good morning, how are you?!’ and admitted there’s no real secret to living a long and healthy life. Instead, she credits her faith and religion. 

“It’s not my secret. It’s the good Lord’s good blessing. I just thank God I’m here,” she said to the reporter. A member of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church since 1939 (that’s 84 years!), she has always put her faith in the Lord and believes it’s a big reason why she’s one of the oldest living people in the world. 

She was also very optimistic – often saying, “I just believe that everything’s going to get better” – and was always a hard worker. According to her granddaughter, she worked at a coffee shop at a local TV station for nearly two decades. Even after retirement, she did domestic work and was strict about saving money. 

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Her longevity has given others hope that they, too, can live to be 114 years old – it’s not easy and takes a certain dedication to one’s health, but it’s possible. Perhaps Woody Allen said it best when he said, “You’ll live to be 100 if you give up all the things that make you want to.” That’s what Elizabeth Francis did.

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