Photographer Captures Six Generations of Charlottesville Family

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

April 25, 2012

Molly Wood is celebrating her 111th birthday on Thursday. She is Charlottesville's oldest resident and has lived here for 90 years.

Wood was born in 1901. During those times a stamp cost two cents and the life expectancy for women was 54 years. Wood and her husband raised three children in the Belmont neighborhood, and she still lives in the area with her daughter, Louise "Jinks" Minter.

"I've been here, it'll be 66 years in November, so I've come a long way," she said.

To celebrate her birthday the now great-great-great grandmother took a picture last weekend with all six generations of her family, from 111 years old to one month old. Photographer Christian Debaun took the picture-of-a-lifetime.

"I like to capture images of things you might not get the opportunity to do. And the opportunity to shoot six generations of a family in a photograph was great," he said. "I love portraiture more than anything else because you get a smile on both sides of the camera."

Debaun has lived next door to Jinks for 15 years, and has captured the family's photos since 2010, when Wood was a mere 109 years old.

"There has not been a mother-daughter picture taken of the two of them in I think 20, 30 years. So the ultimate purpose was to go over and photograph the two of them together so Jinks had a nice photo of the two of them. Then the project just kind of evolved," Debaun explained.

Jinks says the key to living 111 years, just like her mother, is to take care of yourself. "She didn't drink, she didn't smoke. She took care of herself."

Also, in celebration of her 111th birthday, Wood's name and age will be displayed Thursday on a sign off of Route 250.

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