Wetzel County Woman Turns 101
A Wetzel County resident is marking quite the milestone today. Long-time resident of Hundred, Thelma Murth Morgan Cox, has turned 101 years old.
Cox was born in a Sears Roebuck house, built by her parents, on a farm outside of Farmington. She grew up working and playing with her young sister, the late Maxine Pruitte; and with her aunt, the late Louise Tustin, who was close in age to the sisters. The girls enjoyed playing “house” with a neighbor until someone would get mad and go home. Later, the friends would make amends and start over. Cox remembers her father repairing her special porcelain doll when it was broken.
She attended Farmington schools and graduated in 1934.
After high school, Cox rode the bus and streetcar to classes at Fairmont State Teacher’s College. She and her friends climbed the 92 steps daily to Hardway Hall in days when the campus only had three or four buildings. She studied journalism and English, graduating in 1938. After substituting at Farmington schools where A. James Manchin was one of her memorable students, she taught in Romney for a few years and enjoyed the people and the area. She met her future husband, Jim, through a friend of her sister, and they married in 1942.
Jim served in the US Navy during World War II, and the couple lived at Great Lakes Naval Base, Illinois, during that time. Thelma remembers that there were only two seasons there – winter and the Fourth of July.
Son Hank was born in 1944, and the Coxes’ daughter Joyce was born in December 1950, during the historic “big snow” of that year. After Jim bought the last set of tire chains available, he and Hank drove through the blizzard to Elkins to pick up his mother to help with the new baby. The trip took five hours but even longer to get back, but Thelma’s father had shoveled out the farm lane by hand so they could get to the house. The snow was as deep as five-year old Hank was tall.
Jim’s job with the power company brought the family to Hundred in 1955. As a project sponsored by the women’s club, Thelma operated a small nursery school and later taught remedial classes. She taught English at Hundred Junior/Senior High School, and retired in 1981. She commented that a single-question final exam for a summer class she took asked, “If you didn’t have any books to use, how would you be able to teach?” With a journalism background, her answer was that she could use the newspaper for almost everything she would need.
Thelma is a loyal member of Harmony Baptist Church in Burton, where her 100th birthday celebration was held last year. She served for 20 years as Sunday school superintendent and for over 30 years as secretary-treasurer of the Mission Circle, a post she will retire from at the end of this year.
She was able to attend the group’s Christmas dinner a few days ago. She was active in Hundred and Mannington Eastern Star chapters for over 50 years. After their retirement, Thelma and Jim remained in Hundred, and she was caretaker for her husband until his death in 1995. Sadly, Thelma’s daughter Joyce passed away unexpectedly just last month, but she is thankful that they were at home together at the time.
With some arthritis and after recovering from two major surgeries in the past few years, Thelma’s crochet and craft projects have been fewer. Her favorite song is “Because He Lives,” her favorite books are by Beverly Lewis, and her favorite movie is “The Sound of Music.” She enjoys gardening and tv game shows, but about the internet, she says, “There are no secrets anymore.”
Thelma’s friends look forward to her Christmas letters every year, and her daughter-in-law Evelyn and neighbors have decorated her home as usual.
Her many friends, neighbors and loved ones celebrate her independent spirit, her unwavering Christian faith, and her personal strength in happy and sad times with loving prayers for God’s continued blessings in her life.
Thelma’s advice to those of us trekking through the journeys of life, as she did so long ago?
“Take one day at a time, and THINK POSITIVE!”