For someone who has lived as many years as East Sacramento resident Genevieve Cobb, it is surprising to many people how little she owns. But fortunately, a small collection of photographs from the early part of Genevieve’s life are among her few keepsakes.
East Sacramento centenarian Genevieve Cobb recently discovered a dozen black and white, family photographs that she had once intended to throw away. Some of the photographs are more than 100 years old. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong
Oddly, however, it was not until last week that Genevieve, who last June turned 102 years old, was aware that she had these photographs in her possession.
Explaining that she had never had any children and that it was her belief that no one would ever want her old photographs, Genevieve made the decision to throw away her old, family photographs about two years ago.
Forgotten photo album
Last week, while looking through a photo album from her 99th birthday celebration, she was surprised to come across a dozen black and white, family photographs, ranging from 1908, which was the year of her birth, to 1948, the year she married her now-late husband, Rodney Cobb.
Genevieve (Moore) Cobb’s parents, Delbert and Effie Moore, are shown around the time of their marriage in 1907. Genevieve said that although she is not certain, she believes that her parents were married on May 16, 1907. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
“I was surprised that I had these (photographs) and that they hadn’t been in the ‘throw outs,’” Genevieve said. “If they had been in the drawer where I had all my other pictures, they would have been thrown out. Nobody wants them, so finally I just went through the drawer and tossed them out.”
When asked why she had not valued her old, family photographs for her own remembrance, Genevieve quickly responded, “Well, I don’t ever look at them. I hadn’t looked at this (99th birthday photo album) for so long, I didn’t know these (old family photographs) were in (the album).”
Although Genevieve said that she has no regrets about throwing away her other family photographs,
she was pleased to come across the few that are still in her possession.
Meeting with the East Sacramento News last week, Genevieve presented her recently discovered photographs and shared details about her 102 years of life.
- Genevieve Moore is shown with her parents Delbert and Effie Moore in this 1908 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Early childhood years
Genevieve, who was the first born of the five children of Delbert Howard Moore and Effie Belle (Wotring) Moore, lived the first three years of her life in Greeley, Colo.
Although Genevieve said that she does not have any memory of residing in Colorado, she can now observe five different photographs from this time in her life.
Among these photographs is a 1908 image that includes the less than one-year-old Genevieve, her parents and her grandparents on her father’s side of her family.
Genevieve Moore – now Genevieve Cobb – is shown in the arms of her mother in this 1908 photograph. Also shown in the photograph are Genevieve’s father (seated next to her mother) and her grandparents. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
The photograph is especially significant, since Genevieve believes it represents the only existing photograph of any of her grandparents.
In a similar manner to this photograph, Genevieve’s photograph of herself and Rodney is also unique. Taken on June 8, 1948 – the day after their wedding – the photograph is possibly the only image of her late husband.
After leaving Colorado, Genevieve resided with her family in Roseburg, Ore. from about 1911 to about
Genevieve Moore is pictured with her doll in late 1909. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
While in Oregon, Delbert, a former railroad worker, supported his family by cutting wood in the forest.
In Roseburg, the family had a farm. And to help the financial stability of the family, who Genevieve said was poor, Effie, in Genevieve’s words, “canned fruit like mad.”
Oklahoma in the 1920s
With hope of improving their finances, the family relocated to Oklahoma, first residing in Skiatook and then moving about 20 miles away to the town of Bigheart.
Delbert was able to obtain employment in Oklahoma as an oil field worker.
Genevieve Moore – now Genieve Cobb – is shown with her dog in this photograph, which was taken in about 1910 in Greeley, Colo. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Genevieve said that she remembers when Bigheart was renamed Barnsdall in 1922.
“They changed the name to Barnsdall, because the Barnsdall (oil) refinery was there,” Genevieve said.
After graduating from Barnsdall High School in 1926, Genevieve graduated from the University of Oklahoma, became a teacher at Skiatook Elementary School, worked in the registrar’s office at the University of Oklahoma and met her future husband. She also turned down an offer to become the principal of Skiatook Elementary School.
The traveling years
Soon after Genevieve’s marriage, she was left alone, as Rodney served in the Army in Panama for 13 months.
Genevieve Moore is shown at the age of 5 in this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Eventually, Genevieve moved to Fresno, where Rodney was stationed.
Following the war, on Dec. 24, 1945, Genevieve and Rodney moved to Colorado Springs.
Attending Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Rodney obtained a bachelor’s degree in botany.
Due to Rodney’s desire to earn a master’s degree in botany at the University of Washington, the couple eventually moved to Seattle.
The suitcases were packed once more, when Rodney, after earning his master’s degree, obtained employment at the world-famous seed supplier, W. Atlee Burpee and Co., in Lompoc, Calif.
In 1953, Genevieve began the first year of her more than half-century of residing in East Sacramento, as Rodney was hired to work for the Department of Agriculture.
After residing for 10 months in downtown Sacramento, Rodney and Genevieve purchased a house at 89 Coloma Way, off Elvas Avenue, in East Sacramento in November 1953.
Genevieve also became employed by the state, first working for the Division of Highways. For the majority of her 13 years with the state, she worked for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.
Randall, Meredith and Genevieve Moore pose for this 1913 photograph. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Both Rodney and Genevieve retired from the state on July 1, 1969.
Mercy McMahon Terrace
In 1995, Genevieve and Rodney moved into Mercy McMahon Terrace, an independent and assisted living facility at 3865 J St., near Mercy General Hospital.
Although Rodney passed away at the age of 93 in 2000, Genevieve has continued to live at Mercy McMahon and has a reputation of being an outstanding person, as well as an excellent bridge player.
Genevieve, who is of Dutch and Irish ancestry and is related to the second U.S. president, John Adams, said that she appreciates the opportunity she has had to live such a long life.
Good genes and good food
She added that she mainly attributes her family’s genes to her longevity.
“My mother lived to be quite old,” Genevieve said. “She didn’t live to be 100, but she was in the upper 90s and her family was long-lived. My father died young, 65, but he had some health problems. His sister lived, I guess, to be in her 90s and my sisters are in their 90s. But I know genes are what do it. Also, I never smoked or drank and (growing up) I just had the food that our family could raise or buy. It was quality food and never junk food.”
The Moore family is shown in this c. 1921 photograph. They are (left to right): Meredith, Juanita, Delbert, Genevieve, Effie and Randall. The fifth child of the family, Darrell, was not yet born at the time when this photograph was taken. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Genevieve, who has been very active in the resident council and is Mercy McMahon’s only centenarian, is well known among residents and staff at Mercy McMahon as a model of longevity and one of the facility’s most kind-hearted and friendly people.
Among the residents who are most impressed with Genevieve is Sheila Mahoney.
“You wouldn’t even know she’s 102,” Maloney said. “She does everything. She does her own laundry. I’m 92 and I don’t even do my own laundry. She is quite a lady.”
Genevieve and Rodney Cobb are shown in this June 8, 1948 photograph, which was taken just one day following their marriage. / Photo courtesy, Genevieve Cobb
Nicki Bagley, assistant administrator at Mercy McMahon, said that she is also very impressed with Genevieve.
“She is a very amazing woman,” Bagley said. “She represents her generation quite well. She’s a very classy woman and kind of old-fashioned in her being. She’s also very bright and still very alert mentally. She is certainly as bright as anyone 20 years younger. We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Cobb here at Mercy McMahon.”