Born at home, September 28, 1929, East of Agawam, Oklahoma (South of Chickasha, OK), the daughter of Frank and Addie Ross. Her parents were small cotton farmers. As a child she had a mule, “Old Red” for her babysitter. From age 2 the folks would put a blanket on Old Red and put her on his back, and he would follow them to the cotton field each day, and graze as Mom and Dad planted, chopped, and later picked the cotton. If she fell off, Old Red would stand still so as to not step on her, until Mom or Dad put her back up. In August of 1935, it became obvious the folks were not going to have much of a cotton crop, because the soil in the center of the field had blown away. Two neighboring cotton farm families made the same decision at that same time, also. So 12 people in two 5 passenger cars left their homes and farms, with barely the clothes on their backs, and headed west hoping to start again. They came to Scottsdale, because of its good farm land, found farm work, and stayed. Cora started school at Scottsdale Grammar School, later graduating from Scottsdale High School. During her High School years, she acted in school plays, and played either 1st or 2nd on the varsity tennis team. In her senior year, 1948, she played for the “State Championship” in Tucson, losing in the final set. She was elected Queen of the SHS’s Annual Sweetheart dance. Following graduation, she worked for The Valley National Bank 1948 – 50 in Phoenix. She married Paul R. Messinger, a former Classmate in the fall of 1950, and moved to San Francisco, where he was going to college. Upon Paul’s graduation in 1951, the couple returned to Scottsdale and son Ken, was born later that year. Son David was born three years after Ken, making the family complete. Cora worked in Barry Goldwater’s election office the summer and fall of 1952, and after the election, she started working at Air Research in Phoenix. Her mother Addie Ross passed away, suddenly in the spring of 1953. In 1954 Cora, Paul, Ken and her father Frank Ross moved to Southern California for two years more training in Funeral Service for Paul, then back to Phoenix, where her husband managed Mercer Mortuary from 1956 to late 1958, when Paul and Cora formed Messinger Mortuary & Chapel, Corporation. With the help of Paul’s family they started construction of the original mortuary building and a new home, adjacent. In the spring of 1959 Messinger Mortuary opened, along with Messinger’s Ambulance Service, Scottsdale’s first commercial Ambulance Service. Cora and Paul lived next door, in their new house, and Cora often worked as “Ambulance Dispatcher”. This was before the days of “Radios and cellular telephones” and she had to keep track of up to five ambulances, some of those years. Cora was active in political life, working in Goldwater’s election to the Senate in 1952, again in 1958, and on his Presidential Run in 1964. She was also Republican District Chairperson for this area during the late 1960s and early 70s. She worked in husband Paul’s Re-election office for City Council in 1971, and for his election to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1979, 1980 and 1982. Cora belonged to several women’s groups, loved to ride horseback, and played tennis 2 -3 times each week until the mid-1990s. Paul and Cora traveled someplace almost every year, from the early 1960s through 2012, visiting 60 countries, sometimes staying for as long as a couple months. Cora, usually researched the countries that we visited prior to our trips. We always were on limited funds, so stayed in simple housings, and drove small rented cars within those various countries, buying at local groceries and often preparing our food ourselves. Our early farm lives made us a little more self-sufficient, maybe? When at home, her business, family and personal life were always part of her days, so we always worked seven day weeks and enjoyed life, church and the many other elements, much like farm life. Husband Paul states “Few young ladies would have stayed with me living the many adventures, tasks, detail, duty and long hours we shared together as Cora has”. I have tried to share my appreciation to her! In February of 2017, Paul and Cora were Grand Marshalls of the Scottsdale Parada Del Sol. She is survived by her husband of nearly 70 years, Paul R. Messinger, sons: H. Kendrick (Debby), David Wm. (Anita); Granddaughters: Kristin Schenkel (Bruce), Sabrina Messinger-Acevedo (Ryan); great grandchildren Jason and Melissa Schenkel, with a new great granddaughter expected in March; sister-in-law Mary Kitagawa (Chisato) and brother-in-law Philip W. Messinger (Patricia).
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