When Martha Brown Cobbs was in her 70s and her long teaching career was over, a family member advised her to find something else to do.
She took the advice, learned to swim, took up aerobics and kept busy in her church and other organizations.
It turned out to be good advice. Martha passed her 101st birthday on April 9. She died Thursday. She was living in a nursing home, but had lived for years in West Philadelphia.
She was born in Steelton, Pa., the seventh of the 12 children of George and Charlotte Brown. She attended Hygienic Elementary School and graduated from Steelton High School.
She received a degree from what was then Shippensburg State Teachers College and taught third grade at Hygienic for 23 years.
In the late 1920s, she was sent as a delegate to a teachers' convention in Lancaster, a much-discussed event since she was African-American and Steelton was not a progressive town at that time.
In 1948, she moved to Philadelphia and started substitute-teaching in the public schools. She later worked as a caseworker for the city Department of Public Welfare.
After arriving here, she joined Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church. She sang in the choir, was secretary of the stewardship committee and was a member of the Bible-study class.
She has no immediate survivors.
Services: 11 a.m. Friday at Camphor Memorial UMC Church, 5620 Wyalusing Ave. Friends may call at 10 a.m. Burial will be in Eden Cemetery, Collingdale. *