Martha Musa Morehouse Sorenson Becker
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August 5, 1919 - June 22, 2014
Martha Musa Morehouse Sorenson Becker, 94, passed away June 22, 2014 in Lacey, WA in a living facility near her daughter's home. She was born August 5, 1919 in Twin Falls, ID to Ralph and Elsie Morehouse, one of five girls. Her early years were spent on a farm in Hollister, ID where her mother operated a mercantile store and pharmacy. Her dad was a Justice of the Peace and US Postmaster at Hollister.
Martha moved to Twin Falls, ID in the third grade. She graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1937 where she was editor of the yearbook, forward on the girls' basketball team, member of Tri-C. Martha loved to dance. Her dance cards were always filled. One school memory is of dancing with Mickey Rooney who was only chest high to her. He was visiting family in the area. During high school, Martha worked as a cashier at the Roxy Theater. Her first movie idols were Tom Mix, Mary Pickford and Charles Farrel After graduating she attended Grimm's Business College and worked for three years at the TIMES-NEWS in Twin Falls in the circulation and advertising department.
Jim Sorenson captured her heart in 1940. After seeing her photo beside his in the window of a photography studio, he made inquiries about her then came into the TIMES-NEWS to meet her. They were married August, 1940. Jim worked for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. When first married, Jim and Martha lived in Hailey, ID managing the Log Cabin Motel and Gas Station. Martha cleaned cabins and helped pump gas. Through Jim's work, the couple also lived in Twin Falls; Salt Lake City, UT; Vancouver, WA; and Boise, ID. They finally settled in Pocatello, ID in the early 1950's where Jim became a partner in Sorenson & Hardy Tire Company. Jim subsequently opened Jim Sorenson, Inc, which became Construction Tire Inc where Martha was a partner and business manager. The company was sold upon Jim's death in 1964. The couple had three children: J.S. (infant) who died after birth, Nancy and Jim.
Martha married William "Bill" W. Becker, a local attorney, in 1968. He died in 2005 leaving his daughter Karen Becker McIntosh, DVM (Peter), Australia. Martha, Bill and three other couples took annual trips to West Yellowstone where the boys fished and the gals shopped. They called themselves "The Jerks". When all were wearing their "Jerk" sweatshirts, they were asked if they were a singing group.
Just prior to Jim's death, Martha was hired as Executive Director of United Campaign (UC). She was the only paid employ during her 25 years of service. Under her leadership, campaign volunteers increased and topped their pledge drive goals yearly; increasing pledges approximately 445% over 25 years. During her years with UC, Martha was a member of the Pocatello Chamber of Commerce and was one of the Pocatello Chiefs - "Chief Many Wampum, United Campaign". She still has her Indian headdress with all its feathers. In 1985 she was the only woman along with prominent business men of Idaho to be included in a public relations film. She received the highest volunteer service awards from American Red Cross, Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts of America and the Handicapped & Older Workers Organization. Martha was honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Salvation Army award. Boys Scouts of America National Council presented her with its Silver Beaver Award, their highest honor. During her time with Soroptimist, Martha was selected as Woman of the Year and Woman of Distinction. She was one of 25 women recognized by Zonta as Women of Achievement. She was also a recipient of the "Honorary Member" award from United Campaign and the "Others" award from the Salvation Army. In 1987 she was nominated for the Athena award.
Martha had an extensive background in working with volunteers and serving the community, such as American Red Cross, County Census Committee, Special Olympics, Public Service Advisory Committee for KIFI Channel 8, Mayor's Committee on Handicapped & Older Workers, Council of Social Services, City of Pocatello Centennial Celebration Committee, March of Dimes, Meals On Wheels, Poison Control Center, Speech and Hearing Center, Council Scout-O-Rama Committee, Board of Directors Silver Sage Girl Scouts Council and Keep Pocatello Beautiful Committee. For 2 years, she led some training classes for Leadership Pocatello. She attended various continuing education workshops and classes on fundraising and non-profit organizations.
At Martha's retirement in 1987, the City of Pocatello gave her a Key to the City and designated a "Martha Becker Appreciation Day".
During her active life, Martha was busy, busy. She was a leader for Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, and 4-H and a favorite home room mother at Green Acres grade school. She holds several lifetime memberships: Idaho PTA Association, Green Acres PTA, P.E.O. International, and Soroptimist International. She was a past president of the Women's Bar Association Auxiliary and a charter member of Mothers of Alpha Chi Omega at ISU. She was the "president" of her bridge club for over 55 years. Martha was also a member of the ISU Bengal Foundation, and the Order of Eastern Star. She and Jim were members of the Harlequin Dance Club; both loved to dance. She was an active member and past president of P.E.O. Chapter K. Taking after her parents, Martha was a lifelong Baptist and Democrat.
Martha was known for her youthful and fun attitude. She believed in being debt free and thrifty. She did love her "sale" shopping. She had a flair for style and creativity. Her husband Jim told their children, "Kids, you have a damn good looking mother." Martha was stylish to the very end. She knew when to say or not say something. Patient, hard working, selfless describe Martha. Above all, she knew how to bend, not break, when not-so-good things happened. She always found the positive in situations and accepted life as it came. Her favorite book was Norman Vincent Peale's "Power of Positive Thinking".
Martha was preceded in death by her parents and four sisters, her infant son J.S, and her son Jim. She is survived by daughters Nancy Sorenson, Lacey WA; Karen Becker McIntosh (Peter), Australia; grandsons Jim Sorenson (Chandra), Hazleton, PA; Jeff Sorenson, Nampa, ID; great-grandson Jimmy Sorenson, Bordentown, NJ, daughter-in-law Kathy Sorenson, Boise, ID; two nieces and one nephew.
Graveside services are family only at Martha's request. A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the First Baptist Church of Pocatello, 408 N. Arthur Avenue from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation payable to the First Baptist Church of Pocatello for the "Martha Becker Memorial Scholarship". Cards and Donations may also be sent to Martha Becker Family 5604 Komachin Loop SE, Lacey, WA 98513. To leave memories or condolences, go to FuneralAlternatives.org.
Published in Idaho State Journal on Aug. 20, 2014