Martha Malinda Pass, died Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Stillwater, OK after a short battle with cancer. Funeral services will be held at 10:00am on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church in Stillwater, OK. Interment will follow at Fairlawn Cemetery. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Martha was born on July 28, 1921 on a wheat farm near Corn, OK to Henry James and Anna Leppke Warkentin. She was the seventh of nine children in a devout Mennonite family that included seven sisters and two brothers. While her older sisters helped their mother with the cooking, cleaning, and sewing, Martha helped her father bring in the milk cows every day and brought meals to the men in the fields during planting and harvest. She attended the one room school in town and graduated from Corn High School in 1939. She was secretary of her senior class. That fall she entered Southwestern State College in Weatherford to obtain a cosmetology license. She worked a short time in Elk City, OK and roomed with her sister, Sue, who was a school teacher there.
Martha moved to Stillwater in 1942 to attend Oklahoma A&M, majoring in business and worked in the Bursar’s Office. She loved her job at the Bursar’s office and eventually went to work there full time. She met her future husband, Hartwill (Bill) Pass, when he came to pick up his GI Bill check from her in Whitehurst Hall. They were married in Stillwater on May 12, 1949 after Bill completed his Master’s degree in Agronomy. While Bill worked in small grains research at OSU, Martha was busy raising two daughters. She sewed their clothes and ferried them to various music lessons, swim practices and school events.
Martha didn’t learn to sew at home but taught herself after her daughters were born. They wore her beautifully crafted dresses throughout their time in public school. After her daughters were grown, she enjoyed participating in the Bicentennial Star Extension Club. She won many ribbons at the Payne County Fair for her tailored jackets and embroidery.
Although she would deny it, Martha was a sports fan before she married a sports fanatic, and there is a ticket stub from a road trip to OAMC vs Arkansas football to prove it. She and Bill had tickets to OSU football, basketball and wrestling from the beginning. Martha kept Cowboy basketball season tickets continuously from 1949 till 2018. She began attending football bowl games when OSU started going in 1997 missing only 3. She truly enjoyed following Cowgirl basketball to New Orleans for their Elite Eight appearance. She attended her last Cowboy basketball game on January 30, 2018.
Martha enjoyed some international travel after her husband passed away in 1990. Besides trips to Canada, the Panama Canal, and Germany, the highlight of her life was to travel to Russia and Ukraine in 1996. She was able to see the area where her father was born and spent the first 12 years of his life. When she returned, she worked with her sister, Ruth, to complete a book about the history of the Henry James Warkentin family as a legacy for generations to come. She remained active in genealogy research for the remainder of her life. Martha once said that she was very grateful for the wonderful parents that she had. Her daughters were proud to say the same thing.
Martha was a member of the OSU Emeriti Association, OSU Agronomy Wives Club, and American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and was a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
Preceded in death by her husband, Bill, and one daughter, Barbara Kay, Martha is survived by her daughter, Joyce Pass Taylor of Stillwater, OK, as well as the many nieces and nephews who are the children of her brothers and sisters.
The family would like to thank Primrose Retirement Community and Physician’s Choice Hospice for their faith-filled and gentle care during our Mother’s last weeks.
Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting strodefh.com.