Long ago Paris resident, Vestava Moore Robberson, passed away August 5, 2013 at the age of 93 in Reedley, Calif. She had extended roots in the Paris area years ago and even today her local family connections are significant, consisting of 90-year-old sister, Wilma Moore Bell, and numerous in-law relatives from the large family of her deceased husband, Arthur Carl Robberson.
She was born in the small rural community of Red Oak, Okla. on September 16, 1919 and was the first of four girls born to William and Winnie Mae Moore. When she was a teenager the Moore family moved to Ratcliff, where she would graduate from Ratcliff High School as the 1937 class valedictorian. Her uncommon name was chosen by her mother who liked the names “Vesta” and “Ava” and decided to put them together. Friends and family often referred to Vestava as “Vesta.”
After her high school, the William Moore family moved from Ratcliff to “Greasy Valley”, a community on the southeast outskirts of Paris. She worked in the area until 1943 when she became a “war bride” by marring local Army soldier Carl Robberson. Carl, a 1938 graduate of Paris High School, was stationed in Southern California and after marring, the young couple would settle in California where they would spend the rest of their lives. “Carl”, as Vestava and his Arkansas family and friends called Arthur, and Vestava were married for 59 years until his passing in 2002.
The Moore family roots run deep in the Paris area. Vestava’s grandparents, Columbus Lilburn Moore and Sarah Sarten Moore, raised their family in Paris in the early part of the 20th century. Oldest son Oscar was a custodian at Paris High, son Jim was a local farmer; son Louis was a barber. The “Louis Moore Barbershop” was located in a stone building that is still standing on Elm St., the road that leads from Paris to Greasy Valley. Vestava and her two sisters, Leona (also a California transplant) and Wilma were all married in Logan County by Rev. and Mrs. Roland King, the pastors of Harmony Assembly of God Church in Greasy Valley, a church that is still thriving today.
When WW II ended the war time newlyweds settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, shortly moving to the suburb of Hayward and then on to Fremont where they raised their family of four. In 1998 Vestava and Arthur left the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area after 50 years and moved to Reedley, a small town south of Fresno.
Vestava’s adult life centered around raising her family and deep involvement in Christian ministry connected to her church community wherever she lived. She was an avid Bible student and teacher. In the mid 1960’s she became an ordained minister and served with husband Arthur as co-pastors of a small church in Fremont; a time period when the idea of female preachers and pastors was rare and even controversial.
Her love of Bible history and Christian mission’s work would take her on service trips to minister to the Navajo Indians of Arizona, the poor in Romania and a church building effort in Columbia. She and Carl visited “the Holy Land” of Israel together twice.
She is survived by four children: Tim of Lakewood, Colo., Jonathan of Los Gatos, Calif., Foster of Paradise Valley, Ariz. and Theresa of Bellevue, Wash., sisters Leona Moore Davis of Orange Cove, Calif. and Wilma Bell of Paris, 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. She is also survived by many Robberson in-laws including: brother-in-laws Charles, Clarence, Franklin, Roosevelt and Raymond; sister-in-laws and several nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
A Christ centered service was held for her, August 9, 2013 in Dinuba, Calif. and she was laid to rest with her husband at the Reedley Cemetery in Calif.
Paid death notice