Jennie Evelyn West Martindale, of Jonesboro, Arkansas, died on Thursday, June 4, at Craighead Nursing Center. She is survived by her three children, Joanne (William) Allen of Jonesboro, Judith (Don) Argo of Lansing, Michigan, and Thomas Martindale Jr. of Germantown, Maryland; two grandsons, Benjamin Allen of San Francisco and Jason Argo of DeWitt, Michigan; two great-grandsons, Ashton and Dylan Argo; and one great-granddaughter, Allison Argo. Her husband of 56 years, Thomas Kinton Martindale; her granddaughter, Allison Argo; and her daughter-in-law, Sue Martindale, predeceased her.
Born August 17, 1924, in Almont, Michigan, to Sarah Lillian Forton and George West, Jennie in high school went to live with the Fred Penwarden family in Richmond, Michigan, graduating from the high school there. During World War II she worked as a riveter at an airplane factory in Willow Run, Michigan. It was there that she met her future husband, Tom, a pilot. They were married in Garden City, Michigan, in February 1945. The Air Force would take them to Memphis and then Macon, Georgia, before Tom left the service to attend the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on the GI Bill. After several years in Wayne, Michigan, and then Westmont, Illinois, their life would take them overseas.
Jennie was a warm and energetic person who gave her time to others, from her family and neighbors to all the many people she would meet in countries around the world. Her life changed dramatically beginning in 1961, when her husband began working for USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Over the next 16 years she and her family would live in Taiwan, Brazil, Bolivia, Afghanistan, India, Ghana, and Vietnam and visit countless other countries. In each country she took an interest in the people and their customs and welcomed them into her home.
After years overseas, Jennie, Tom, and Tom Jr. moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland. Her husband died there in 2000. A member of the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, Jennie remained in Gaithersburg until September 2017, when she moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to be near her elder daughter and son-in-law. She lived at the Villa, in Jonesboro, until declining health necessitated a move to Craighead Nursing Center, where she was looked after by caring staff and aides and Visiting Angels. She remained interested in others and enjoyed their company until her death.
Jennie will be buried next to her husband in the Salem ARP cemetery in Atoka, Tennessee, on Wednesday, June 10, about 11:00. Because family members cannot come from out of state owing to travel concerns associated with the coronavirus, there will be no service and no visitation—only a few words at graveside. Anyone wishing to attend should wear a mask and observe social distancing.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Parsa (www.afghanistan-parsa.org) or to the Kind Works program at the Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, 610 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 .
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