Emma Amelia Quimby celebrates 100th birthday
When Emma Amelia Moore Quimby was born on May 12, 1914, she weighed only 1 1/2 pounds.
As the first child of Benjamin and Cora Blackwell Moore, her parents faced the challenge of keeping her tiny body alive with only the resources they had in their Trout Run home. Quimby was carried around on a pillow and kept warm on the oven door of the cook stove in their kitchen. Their baby grew up strong and resourceful.
On May 10 Quimby’s family held a birthday celebration at The Williamsport Home where she has lived since 1991.
“I can’t believe I’m 100,” Quimby said. Those who know her are not surprised she reached this milestone birthday. Quimby is noted for her determination and hard work in all aspects of her long life.
At age 17, Quimby made her way up Steam Valley Mountain to the community of White Pine in Cogan House Township. There she worked for Dalton and Nora Hardenberg in the store they owned in the then-bustling village.
“When I first came to White Pine there were three stores – a blacksmith shop, a cheese factory, a post office and the church parsonage,” Quimby said. “And I met Jack right after I came there.”
She and Franklin “Jack” Evan Quimby were married in 1934. During their first year of marriage, Jack was working for a crew cutting logs on Buckhorn Mountain and Emma cooked for the 16 men who were staying in a camp on the mountain.
“I made five pies every day. There was no electricity and I had to keep the stove going all day. I had an old wind up phonograph and I’d keep that going all day long. I kept the place scrubbed and cleaned all the time to keep busy. I was scared to death,” she said.
With the arrival of a son, Clyde, in 1935 and a daughter, Delores, two years later, the small family moved to a house on Cogan House Road. Jack farmed the land and Emma kept a garden, canned, baked, sewed and crocheted for her family.
Always ambitious, she pursued work cleaning other peoples’ houses, hung wallpaper in many Cogan House community homes, worked at Weldon’s Pajama Factory, did sewing in a factory in Jersey Shore and, for 19 years, worked as a waitress in Fry Brothers Turkey Ranch on Steam Valley Mountain.
During the war she worked the 3-11 p.m. shift at Bethlehem Steel in Williamsport.
In 1950, she applied to take the census and remembers it was a difficult job.
“I took the census in four townships. It was terrible; the roads were in such bad shape. I’d get stuck and have people pull me out. You had to get everything, every hunting camp. You had a map and had to draw in where there was a house, or whatever it was,” she said.
Somehow she found time to be an active member of the White Pine United Methodist Church and the Cogan House Grange. She held nearly every office in the church and the White Pine United Methodist Women’s organization. She crocheted hundreds of lap robes for donation to nursing homes through the United Methodist Women.
Using her determination and resourcefulness she often kept the church financially sound during hard times.
She urged the women of the church to bake pies to sell at their events. It was not uncommon for people attending the church dinners to request “Emma Quimby’s coconut cream pie” for which she’d gained a reputation.
When she moved to The Williamsport Home, she continued to volunteer well into her 90s, at the home’s nursing facility and as a cashier for her apartment building’s store. She always has been an avid reader, loved baking and crocheting and continues to work crossword puzzles.
Her family includes, son and daughter-in-law, Clyde and Nannette Quimby; daughter, Delores Vonada; grandchildren Patricia and Jeffrey Moon, Robert Quimby, Deborah and Scott Barger and Deanna Vonada; and great-grandchildren, Kyle Evan and Mandie Pepperman, Joshua Wade Pepperman and Evan Phillip Barger.