Mary Jo Wilkerson Martin, formerly of Orange, died on Nov. 18, at the age of 91 in Columbus, Texas.

Mary Jo was buried at the Kirbyville Cemetery on Saturday, Nov. 20 alongside her husband Weyman. Family and friends will celebrate her life at her daughter’s home in Columbus on Saturday, Dec. 4.

She was born on Oct. 21, 1919, in Hearne, Texas, the second of four children born to Herman and Ella Wilkerson.

She is survived by one daughter, Becky Fendley and husband David of Columbus; one son, Weyman Martin, Jr. and wife Susan of Midlothian, Texas; three grandchildren, Kate Schaffhauser and husband Daniel of Rockwall, Texas, Madeline Fendley of Austin, and Andrew Martin of Mesquite, Texas; and four great-grandchildren, Ben, Carrie, Karsten, and Evan Schaffhauser, all of Rockwall.

Mary Jo graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics. It was there that she met her husband of 64 years, Weyman Martin. After dating for two weeks, Weyman asked Mary Jo to marry him, and she said yes. She maintained till her death that, had he asked her to marry him on their first date, she would have said yes. Following their marriage on August 23, 1940, the couple moved to Anahuac, Texas, where Weyman was the high school principal. Mary Jo directed the county’s food program for impoverished children for one year and taught second grade for one year before being hired as the high school home economics teacher. During World War II, she knitted sweaters for soldiers and volunteered with the U.S. Army Air Forces III Fighter Command Aircraft Warning Service, sitting atop the Chambers County courthouse, scanning the skies with binoculars for enemy aircraft.

Mary Jo later taught first grade at Kountze Elementary School. She ended her teaching career of over 30 years when she retired from a first grade teacher position at Little Cypress Elementary School. Her husband Weyman, the superintendent of both Kountze ISD and the Little Cypress ISD, was the only boss Mary Jo ever had!

Mary Jo was an avid seamstress and a master of anything done with needle and thread. She led a troop of Girl Scouts in Kountze. She began woodcarving when she was 80. Mary Jo spent the last few years of her life at The Oaks Assisted Living Residence in Columbus, Texas, where she moved with her husband Weyman in 2004. She was a life-long Methodist.

To read more about Mary Jo’s life and to add your own stories, go to In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary Jo’s memory may be sent to Colorado County Habitat for Humanity, POB 1148, Columbus, TX 78934.