Georgia woman celebrates publication of children’s book on 108th birthday

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — It’s never too old to publish that first book.

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Peggy Vanstrom Cobb celebrated her 108th birthday on Wednesday with the publication of her first book, which she wrote and illustrated, WSB-TV reported. Her birthday was actually Tuesday, but the staff at Hammond Glen Retirement Community in Sandy Springs, Georgia, threw her a birthday celebration one day later.

“I’m just beyond words,” Cobb told the television station. “This is happiness.”

Painter Pan: The Rainbow Man” is the story of a charismatic, elfin character who helps a girl unhappy with the picture she is painting, according to her Amazon listing.

It is a story she concocted more than 70 years ago to tell her children but never published.

Until now.

“He says to the little girl, whenever you see a rainbow, just wave and I’ll wave back at you. To this day, there are people in my family — when they see a rainbow — they wave,” Cobb’s son, Bill Cobb, told WSB.

“Some of my favorite books were “The Little Engine That Could,” “The Runaway Pancake” and this one,” another son, Peter Cobb, told the television station.

According to Minnesota online birth records, Peggy Vanstrom Cobb was born on May 23, 1915, in Lynd Township, Minnesota.

Her father, Frederick Vanstrom, was a cashier at a local bank while her mother, Anna Vanstrom, kept house.

Peggy Cobb attended Bemidji State Teachers College in Minnesota, where she was a member of the Blackfriars, the school’s dramatic organization, the St. Cloud Times reported in 1940.

According to her Amazon profile, Cobb earned her bachelor’s degree in art education. She then was an art supervisor in Edina, Minnesota, until she married North Carolina native Jacob Cobb in Hennepin County, Minnesota, on Dec. 31, 1943, online marriage records show.

After World War II, Peggy taught art at Ward Belmont College for girls in Nashville, Tennessee. She earned her master’s degree in art from Indiana State University in 1962.

After Jacob Cobb’s death on Jan. 23, 2002, in Morganton, North Carolina, Peggy Cobb moved to the Sandy Springs area.

On Wednesday, Peggy Cobb signed books for residents at the retirement community. What was once a cherished family story was now available to the public.

“I’m enjoying this!” Peggy Cobb said. “You can tell.”

Information from online census and newspaper archives were used in compiling this report.

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