'McGuire Road Matriarch' to celebrate 100th birthday

Staff Reports

Anna Cox, who has nicknames such as “The Great Warrior,” “The Bionic Woman,” and “The McGuire Road Matriarch” is celebrating a 100th birthday Aug. 7, and friends and family are wishing her many more.  

Anna Cox, pictured here in December 2020, is turning 100 year old Aug. 7.

Born in the inner city of Rochester in 1921, Anna Jennie Rivaldo was the second youngest of eight children.  

Her parents, Sarah and Sam Rivaldo, immigrated to America from Sicily prior to the birth of their eight children. Her childhood was one of tough love and hardship as her dad Sam died when Anna was only three years old. His death left her mom Sarah with eight kids to raise.  

Being a younger sibling, Anna was asked to do many chores by her mom and older siblings to help the family survive. This childhood background, despite its tremendous weight, molded Anna into what her children and grandchildren describe today as “by far the gutsiest, grittiest, grinding-style winner we have ever seen.”  

Youngest son Marty Cox labeled his mom “The Great Warrior '' when she turned 90 ten years ago. On Aug. 10 Anna will have two more “greats” added to her nickname.  

Oldest son Ron Cox refers to his mom as the “McGuire Road Matriarch” due to her lengthy tenure of living 68 straight years at 144 McGuire Road (1949-2016 ) prior to moving to the Fleming Point retirement community.  

From 1979 to 2016 Anna lived alone on McGuire Road in Greece due to her husband Ben’s failing health and passing in 1986.  

Anna’s fortunes for a great future turned positive in 1945 when she met a wonderful man named Benny Cox while working at the Haloid Corporation. Benny had just served four years fighting the Nazis in World War II’s North African and Sicilian Campaigns under the command of Gen. George Patton.  

Anna Cox (right) with her five children in 2016: Top: Ben and Carol. Bottom: Ron, Buzz and Marty.

Anna and Benny married in 1946 and immediately started having children, which ultimately grew to five in number. Sandwiched between Ron and Marty are Roger “Buzz” Cox, Carol Cox-Gursslin and Benny Cox Jr.  

Anna was a “stay at home, raise the kids” mom while her husband had as many as three jobs at one time trying to keep things going for his growing family. Benny’s love of sports, spurred on by his own all-scholastic athletic feats at Charlotte High School in 1936, influenced the five Cox kids to play and enjoy sports growing up.  

Anna grew to love sports as well and continually drove the kids around to practices and games for many years. To this day, Anna never misses a New York Yankees ballgame on TV and stays up until the last out. Derek Jeter remains her favorite Yankee even though she witnessed seeing many Yankee greats all the way back to the 1940s. 

Anna’s talents and activities are many including gourmet cooking, knitting, building crafts, YMCA swimming and gardening. However, her first love is directed to her five children, 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. To this day she is constantly asking how the kids are doing and remembers most of the names. In turn, each one of them deeply cherishes her and looks up to her for the fighter she is when it comes to battling adversity.  

With the exception of short-term memory issues, which only recently surfaced, Anna’s mind is sharp.  

Noteworthy to mention is the fact that remarkably Anna has had both knees and both hips replaced, which brings into play yet another of her nicknames: “The Bionic Woman.”  

During the century of life Anna has been blessed with, she has overcome many health-related obstacles including ulcers, gallbladder problems, spinal stenosis sciatic pain, dozens of bronchitis episodes, cataract surgery, teeth extractions and many more.  

When asked for tips on how others might improve their chance to live a long life, Anna’s first remark is to stay active. She adds drink tea daily, eat lots of vegetables and fruits and “line up 13 knickknack elephants on your mantle with their trunks up!” 

Long ago, she collected her 13 elephants from various Salvation Army stores and really believes they bring her good luck. Anna Cox is a devoted Christian woman and thanks the Lord daily for her long life.  

Following her lifelong creed of staying active, Anna participates in many social activities at Fleming Point and is well known at the wonderful retirement center run by Atria.