Martha Louise (Jackman) Blake, Brookston, passed away Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, after reaching the age of 88 years old. After months of failing health, she died peacefully at St. Mary Healthcare Center in Lafayette.
Martha was born Oct. 9, 1931, in Parke County, a daughter to the late William and Josephine (Roccia) Jackman. Martha was raised in West Union with her two brothers and sister (preceded in death, William E. Jackman Jr., Michael Jackman, and Rozell Poole) and graduated from Montezuma High School in 1950.
Martha met the love her life, Melvin Blake (preceded her in death in 2004), at the local roller skating rink in Montezuma. They married on May 3, 1951, and celebrated 53 years of marriage together. Martha and Melvin moved their family to Brookston in 1959 to pursue an agriculture livelihood and a career at TRW. They raised their five children on this family farm in rural Brookston.
And who was Martha Blake? Martha was a wonderfully devoted wife and mom to her five children. She was a hard worker who spent countless hours in her garden preparing food for her family. Many people have one garden ... Martha had three large gardens on the family farm. If you needed a vegetable, she had one for you. Her Italian heritage passed on countless recipes from Italy that she was known for simmering all day.
Once her children were grown, she decided she wanted to go back to work and found a career at JCPenney for 25-plus years. She loved talking to the customers and delivering exceptional service. Once retired, she loved going back to her JCPenney home to see who was still working.
One of Martha's proudest accomplishments was her dedication to her elementary-high school education experience. In all 12 years of schooling, she only missed one day of school. Wow! She loved learning and carried that perseverance over to her adult life.
During the era Martha went to high school, sports were not as common for women. Martha was not going to let sports pass her by as she joined the co-ed track team for the Aztecs. She loved competing against the boys, especially when she beat all her competitors in the broad jump and high jump. She loved sports and friendly competition.
As a newlywed, Melvin and Martha moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to fulfill Melvin's military obligations. There, Martha learned to downhill and cross-country ski and encountered many adventures living in the open country.
And speaking of sports, Martha was an avid sports fan! She loved supporting her Frontier Falcons and Purdue Boilermakers. During basketball season, she had the schedule ready for each night to determine which games she was going to watch. She was also known to break down a March Madness bracket like a champ. When Purdue was not playing, her back up team to watch was the Michigan Wolverines (basketball only), as she loved watching the Fab Five many years ago and continued watching her second-favorite team to date.
She is survived by her loving family, including her daughters Carol (Jerry) Thompson and Carmen Weiderhaft (Jack Platt); son Jim Blake (deceased Julie); six grandchildren; and eight great -grandchildren.
Martha joins in heaven her beloved parents; her siblings; and husband Melvin Blake; as well as her daughter Cathy Rauch (Don); her son Ed Blake; and daughter-in-law Julie Blake.
At this time, a private memorial gravesite service will be held in Brookston for immediate family on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
With Martha's passion for athletics and her Brookston community, memorials may be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Frontier Athletic Department or the Brookston Lions Club. Donations may be sent to Clapper Funeral Services, PO Box 509, Brookston, IN 47923
The family would like to thank St. Mary Healthcare and Guardian Angel Hospice professionals for the wonderful care that Martha received.
Share memories and condolences online at www.clapperfuneralservices.com.