By Martha Jo Tisdale

Martha Jo Walker, named for her two grandmothers, entered the world on Sunday, June 6, 1943 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  When Granny Walker answered the telephone and learned that “Martha Jo” had indeed arrived, she said, “I’ve never liked my name . . .until today.”

The family moved to the small town of Saratoga when Martha Jo was a second grader! The Walker’s next move was to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1958. Martha Jo attended Arizona State University, majoring in business with a minor in English. After completing a two-year secretarial degree, Martha Jo went to work in one of the Arizona banks, driving the 26.6 mile distance in traffic, both ways. . . without air conditioning.

Martha Jo majored in business because her dad insisted she learn a skill she ‘could fall back on’ but minored in English, her first love. Having one of her poems published in a book gave her the boost she needed to pursue her goals.

Married in 1963, Martha Jo found herself in Durango, Colorado working at Turner Industrial Bank until her husband transferred to Grand Junction, Colorado where she found more banking experience coupled with insurance challenges. Getting involved with volunteer interests, she became a personal secretary to the director setting up the itinerary to put into place some much-needed services for the drug and alcohol abuse population which covered a three-county area. 

Three years later, Martha Jo worked with the county health department doing the billing for home health care. When one of those ‘opportunities of a lifetime’ came along she became a team member in a local dental office, assisting in various procedures.

Being the mother of three children with no child support and very little insurance benefits, Martha Jo moved to the small town of Brush, Colorado to work for Public Service Company of Colorado. That employment lasted 17 years and was interrupted when large companies began down-sizing.

Because of Martha Jo’s lack of interest in computers, she was laid off . . . and somehow found her way to the local high school where she became the Registrar under the tutelage of the high school counselor. . . . whose favorite activity was RVing! Martha Jo and her (new) husband were quick to purchase a pull trailer and follow Dorothy and Steve around! Something they did full-time for eight years beginning in 2004.

Martha Jo loved to write. She joined Joy of Writing in 2015. Poems came easily, segments of family history were varied and actually complemented those of her brother’s. She dabbled in creative writing, just to see what would end up on the pages.  Upon discovering her mother’s college scrapbook, she delighted in the twinges experienced when her writings mimicked those of her mother’s.