MOUNT GILEAD- Long time Mount Gilead resident Martha (Geyer) Kubbs celebrated her 100th birthday in her present residence at DeWolf Place in Marion February 22nd.
Kubbs recently enjoyed recounting memories from her youth. A special memory was visiting Lakeside Methodist Camp where Amelia Earhart was the featured speaker.
“She (Amelia Earhart) wore a shimmering, green satin gown,” Kubbs recalled. “She was beautiful.”
Earhart disappeared in her flight around the world the following year.
Another recollection was life with her family, including six sisters and three brothers. She has great memories of the fun they had growing up and their bulldog named Brownie.
“We all had a best friend and everyone congregated at our house,” said Kubbs.
She paid much tribute to her parents, although she admits she was scared of her dad when she was little.
“My dad just had to raise an eyebrow; no more needed to be said,” said Kubbs with a knowing look.
The Geyer family lived on North Main Street in Mount Gilead, just a couple places from the home and office where she would live much of her married life with her husband, Dr. Francis Kubbs and their four children.
She met Francis Kubbs when they were in high school. He was two years older. They dated some, but drifted apart when he went to medical school at The Ohio State University.
World War II years
When World War II started she said everyone wanted to do something to help the war effort. She worked at North Electric in Mount Gilead to make relays for tanks before going to nursing school.
She was planning to attend White Cross Hospital’s nursing program, but was called home to help with the family. She said she didn’t like the head nurse’s comment that she didn’t owe her family anything.
“I felt I owed my family everything and then I looked around for other nursing schools. I got a call from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan,” Kubbs said she was able to start in June and finished there with Henry Ford giving her the diploma.
She recalls Mrs. Henry Ford who came to the hospital and worked beside them as soldiers came in along with people from all over. The hospital was built by Ford for his autoworkers.
Dr. Kubbs was in pre-med at Ohio State University and then was in residency in California before they got together again and were married in 1946.
A young family
“We had two girls and then Francis went to Korea where he was a physician during the war,” Kubbs said.
She remembers taking their girls, Sandy and Cathy, to the train station in Galion to meet him when he returned. He couldn’t believe how they had grown and were no longer the babies he remembered.
She didn’t continue her nursing career after their marriage. As Dr. Kubbs set up his medical practice in Mount Gilead, he wanted her to take care of the home and family while he hired the help for his medical office. Before the Morrow County Hospital was built in 1952, they had many emergencies and late-night calls.
Her daughter Sandy Snyder recalls her mother did almost all of the insurance work for the practice.
“She helped with Girl Scouts and she could sew just about anything. She was a good cook too,” Snyder said. “We also spent a lot of time at Grandma Geyers down the street and at Aunt Rosemary’s (Browns) house.
Sports were important to the family. Dr. Kubbs played both football and baseball in high school. Kubbs said the Cincinnati Reds offered Dr. Kubbs a position on their team. He said it would have been good money, but he wanted to go to medical school.
Her son Chris Kubbs had many successful seasons as a coach at Pleasant High School in football and baseball with two state championships in each sport.
Kubbs still enjoys following Cleveland Indians/now Guardians baseball.
“Cleveland plays Boston tonight,” said Kubbs. “They took the first two games in the series, then lost 0-1. They just couldn’t score,” reported Kubbs who listens to the Guardians on the radio.
When asked what has made her most happy in her 100 years she answered “family” without a moment’s hesitation.
“I had the most wonderful mother and father and then my own family,” Kubbs said. “I was blessed.”
She went on to give details of her children, mentioning the death of her son Kipp who passed away last year after a struggle with a rare disease.
“Oh Lordy, I didn’t realize how ill he was,” she said.
Kubbs delighted in talking about her eight grandchildren, their children and their successes.
Executive Director of DeWolf Place, Jessica Morgan calls Kubbs a treasure.
“She is insightful, kind and always thinks of others before herself, which is why we spoil her,” Morgan said. “She is a blessing and we enjoy having her.”
Kubbs said there really is no secret to her longevity. “I take one day at a time. I’ve had nothing to drag me down, and I’ve been blessed.”
Martha Kubbs was one of the Today Show Smuckers 100 year birthday celebrations. Here she is pictured with her nursing cap and graduation photo.