Age 101 of New Lenox, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at her home with her family by her side.
Born November 30, 1921 in Highland Park, Martha was the daughter of Harry and Martha (Christensen) Koch. She was raised and educated in Highland Park and went on to join the Air Force to avoid the conventional female role of housewife. Martha was sent to San Bernardino, California where she became a women’s aircraft instrument technician. She was trained to fix electrical instruments for airplane panels during World War II. Martha was a true Rosie the Riveter!
After her time in the service, Martha moved to New Lenox because that is where her sister lived. She worked as a master seamstress for Al Baskin in Joliet and later for Mark Shale in Schaumburg. Martha was a founding member of the New Lenox Historical Society which formed in 1986, and served as Recording Secretary until 2016. She was known for her beautiful hand written minutes of the monthly meetings. Even though Martha stepped down from her role in 2016 she was bestowed an Honorary Life Membership of the organization as a thank you for her many years of service.
Aside from the New Lenox Historical Society, Martha was also a longtime member of the United Methodist Church in New Lenox. She helped in the office with the monthly newsletter and was a member of the ladies circles. Martha would bring handmade lap robes as gifts to ladies that were recovering from surgery or other illnesses and were often accompanied with a box of homemade cookies. Martha was well known for her delicious hand whipped angel food cakes and those cakes would usually be a hit at various fundraisers and auctions bringing in considerable amounts of donations for whichever cause they were put towards. Martha will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by her grandson: Zachary Theodore Carpenter, and nieces: Sue Roswell Bean, Jean and Evelain.
Martha is preceded in death by her parents: Martha and Harry; daughter: Charlene Marie Horsley; brother: Theodore Alfred Koch, and son-in-law: William H. Carpenter.
Per Martha’s wishes, cremation rites have been accorded and a celebration of her life will be held at a later date.