Cover photo for Martha Keith Simpson's Obituary
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Martha Keith Simpson

November 15, 1933 — May 6, 2024


Martha Keith Simpson

  A graveside service for Martha Keith Simpson, 90, will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. at Lay Cemetery also known as Red River Baptist Church Cemetery in Benton, Louisiana. 

Martha Keith Simpson, age 90, passed away 05/06/2024 in Portland, OR at The Regency MC Community. Each Care Team Member came in with eyes lowered in pain for this Beautiful Creature they loved and adored. We prayed and held each other in pain, love and release. Let this Miracle of a Woman be on her way to the Last Sleep. 

She was adored there with her sassy wit and Southern Charm. A Caregiver looked at me and cried “She was my Friend”. She was everyone’s friend. She was colorblind to race, religion, partner preference. Everyone counted. Everyone Included.  

Raised in the small town of Ida, Louisiana in 1933 she flourished in school and was a band major. Twirling her baton. Leading the band. Sounds like Mom.  

At Louisiana Tech University she enrolled at 16. Youngest in the School. At 18 saw Dad in the lunch line up and the rest is history.

 Careers and Life took them from the South to the North with kids in tow. All with our funny Accents in the North.  

In Eugene, Oregon Mom and Dad loved all racquet sports and played fierce Racquetball, Tennis and Squash. In their 50s-60s running Marathons. Dancing. They loved to Dance. They worked hard and played hard. Qualities instilled into their kids. There was rarely a weekend we weren’t on a court.  

The Life-force of Martha Clare Simpson is hard to measure in successes as there are just too many to count. Mom carried with her strength and pride and drive to get where she needed to be through determination; Geographical Draftsman by 19, Two Masters, Doctorate, Lumber Broker, Educator, Wife and Mother. World Traveler to Europe, Japan and Thailand. Artist. Pianist. Clarinet. Ukulele strummer. And she could even play a decent Harmonica.   

You know how they say you never know how strong you are until tested? Mom was tested relentlessly. Relentlessly in Life through many untimely Deaths, Challenges and Tests. She conquered each and thrived. She had a calm strong presence and I would ask her how she did it? She would answer “Honey, sometimes I am screaming inside” . But never showed it maintaining a calm exterior. I called her my Little Budda at times.

 She will always be my Light, my Hero and my Ambition to be the kind of woman she was.  


Remember My Name

By Martha Keith Simpson

And today I wondered who would tell the stories when we are all gone.

Summer days with bare feet and silent, hot sand caressing our feet as we went downtown for a coke. Hot tarry roads that had us doing strange dances to escape the burning heat. 

Chinaberry trees to hide in. Chinaberry bracelets. Down to the pond where we cooled our bodies and burned them quickly. Cool vinegar compresses to take the heat away. Then we went and did it again and again. 

The Peace Rose that was always heavy with blossoms gave our tent shelter one night as a bunch of girls camped under it and told scary stories, heard monsters, had brothers making scary noises. It was a fearful night that I remember in my front yard with my parents’ bedroom fifty feet away. But it was such an adventure. 

We had a few horses to ride, but no saddles. So, we slipped and slid about our sweaty mounts. I remember my horse taking me under a low limb and my falling off and spraining a finger. Fate is cruel, my first arthritic knuckle came as a constant reminder of that fall-oh, but it was so worth it. 

War years, sad times, exciting times. When a soldier came home to visit though we may not have known him well, he belonged to us. We would see him downtown and be awed by him and what he had done in the WAR!  The WAR was always capitalized in our minds. Only now, do I know the reticence to talk was born out of the need to forget for a while. Then, they went away again. 

Our small town lost so many. We mourned each one. Dark Winter days, rain, Christmas lights everywhere, and soldiers’ home on leave. We didn’t understand why the one who came home for Christmas and was safe just went into his bedroom and blew his brains into a million pieces of pain for it all.

All the memories are not of hot summer days with the trees heavy with leaves and lemony freshness of Magnolias scenting the air. But they are the memories that I think of today. 

The come the memories of pecan trees. Me high up in the branches. Looking over the small community, I dreamed, oh, I dreamed so many dreams. Some of those dreams came true-others-well, Life brought me more than I knew to dream of.

I was so young. Always the youngest in school, college, in work. What happened? I am now the oldest…And the burials have begun. Each not only takes a piece of me away, but also an irretrievable piece of history is lain to rest beside them. 

Someone said that as long as a name is remembered, that person still lives on. Who will remember Jimmy? There are only three of us left plus a sprinkling of relatives who would only slightly remember World War II and a remark might occur. “Oh, yes, we had a cousin in that war. I forget his name.”

 So, when I am gone, occasionally say my name. 

Martha is survived by her two children Kimber Keith Simpson and James Scott Simpson. Sister Barbara Gay.  

Mom will be laid to rest in Benton, Louisiana. In lieu of flowers hug your parents if even in just your Mind and Heart.  





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