WHEELING - As a young widow with two children, Alice McCoy of Wheeling said she was blessed when Bob McCoy came into their lives.
Alice and Bob married and went on to have two more children whom they raised during the 1950s through the 1970s. The family includes Sally, Greg, Ann and John, and now a host of grandchildren, great- and even great-great-grandchildren.
Bob operated a successful State Farm Insurance business in Elm Grove for 40 years. Alice remained a stay-at-home mom, a job she said she loved and embraced each day. She said her children would help around the house as well.
"My mother was always home when I was growing up and I was glad to be there for my children," Alice said. "I enjoyed cooking and cleaning and raising the kids. I liked the role."
Alice believes hard work never hurt anyone and she likes to think she and her husband set a good example for their children in that area. Family was and is the most important part of her life. She has been widowed for more than a decade and now, at age 91, enjoys living among others her age at Elmhurst, The House of Friendship.
"I liked working in the yard, even cutting the grass sometimes," Alice said. "The kids pitched in, too."
With four children and one income, the family was not used to frills but enjoyed life in Wheeling. Alice said she was always carting "a car full of young ladies to Oglebay" to swim or other events. Because she was a stay-at-home mother, Alice was often helping out friends with their children.
"I drove kids to kindergarten and was the mother everyone knew was home," she noted.
Alice noted that dinnertime was family time with everyone sitting down for a meal together when schedules allowed.
"Even if he was really busy, Bob was always home for dinner. He might go back to work after dinner, but he was there for me and the kids," Alice said. "The kids grow up and go on their own ... It's important to enjoy your family and children and your home. It's not that way so much today with parents and children involved in so many things."
Life was busy raising four children when there were no cellphones or computers, but Alice believes her children benefited from just being together and being active, even if it was doing yardwork together.
"We couldn't afford vacations but the kids enjoyed the parks and we did things as a family," she said.
Alice encouraged her children to read books and to get plenty of exercise. She continues that philosophy and walks at least a mile around the Elmhurst campus every day.
Today, Alice enjoys talking to her grandchildren via an electronic device. "I love to hear them talk and see them. Family means everything."