Russ Cobbs has moved all over the world to teach high school students—living in Texas, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Germany. In 2017, when Russ was 80 and living in Longmeadow with his wife, Doris, he concluded it was time for one last move.
“Even as empty nesters and following our professional retirement, Doris and I remained as content as ever in Longmeadow,” he recalls. “But I sensed it was time to consider relocating to another stable and safe community similar to those we had enjoyed throughout our lives.”
Glenmeadow met that need. After a tour of our Life Plan Community led by Torrie Dearborn, including a memorable visit to resident Bill Burrows’ apartment, Russ and Doris put their names on our waiting list. Though Russ remembers that Doris had reservations about leaving their home, the two are now happily and fully ensconced in the Glenmeadow community.
“I’ve overheard Doris tell others, ‘Glenmeadow is the best place for us,’” he says. “We both enjoy and benefit from our commitments to the balance class, using the recumbent bike in the Wellness Center and the pool, and relaxing in the jacuzzi.”
Having both enjoyed long careers as teachers, Russ and Doris deserve some time to relax. Russ started working as an English teacher in 1960 at Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas, after earning his bachelor’s degree in English from Stephen F. Austin State University. He surprised his family by moving to Newfoundland, Canada, several years later to teach English and chair his department at Harmon AFB American High School.
Russ later continued his studies at the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Texas, and the University of Massachusetts, teaching and serving as English Department Chair at different high schools in each region. Russ’ last job was teaching English IV students and serving as English Department Chair here at Longmeadow High School. He retired in 1997 and says he was content to volunteer at the Storrs library, but a phone call in 1998 from Pearson Evaluation Systems in Hadley derailed his plans.
Russ worked as a part-time consultant for Pearson’s teacher certification examinations, a requirement for those seeking certification numerous states in the United States. “What began as a part-time job soon became a full-time commitment for 12 months per year for 20 years,” he says. “Although I fully enjoyed the work and my colleagues at Pearson, I retired when I was 80 years old. It was time for me to retire from my retirement job.”
It was while teaching in Kaiserslautern, Germany, that Russ met Doris; she was also a teacher. They eventually decided to return to the United States permanently with their infant daughter, Colleen, and took a liking to Longmeadow.
“I fell in love with this part of New England, and Longmeadow in particular,” Russ says. “We wanted to settle and rear our daughter in a stable and safe community similar to those we enjoyed while growing up.”
In the years when Russ was earning an education, traveling, making a living, and being a son, husband, and father, he wasn’t able to allot time to the painting hobby he was eager to explore. “As an adult, I often wished that I could take drawing or painting classes,” he says.
In our Art Studio, Russ has gotten his wish. Painting has provided him with enhanced peace of mind, a different sense of self, new challenges, and a heartfelt happiness. “My art studio experiences, along with my instructor and classmates, have proved to be among the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life,” he says. “I don’t think the time ever seemed right for me to devote a part of myself to art. Now, it is the right time, and I love it.”