Martha (Sandefur) Tarry Simpson, age 105, passed away May 23, 2019.  Daughter of the late Ellis Taylor Sandefur and Bertha Mae Leach Sandefur, she lived a life focused on her church, her family, education, and friends.

Martha was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Eminence, Kentucky and served as a liturgist and as an elder.  She taught high school English, speech, drama, and physical education.  She chaired many groups such as Beta Club, Glee Club, and Senior Class Sponsor.   She was a “forever” student and educator.  Martha graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 1932.  She attended Western University where she met the love of her life, McCoy Tarry.  From her time at Western, she qualified and received a lifetime teaching certificate. She graduated from Murray University in 1958 and received her Master’s Degree from Murray in 1960.

She began her teaching career at a one room school house in 1934 at Mt. Moriah in Ohio County, Kentucky.  From there her teaching career took her to Brewers, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Sedalia, Kentucky; Henry County High School (New Castle, Kentucky); and Eminence, Kentucky.  Throughout all those years her students were the most important individuals she knew.  She was an encourager, a listener, and a role model for all of her students.  She always looked for the best in every student who came her way.

Martha has been recognized by many organizations and also has received many awards.  In 1974 the Eminence School library was dedicated to Martha and her husband, McCoy Tarry.  Martha has also received the Paul Harris award from Eminence/Henry County Rotary Club, the Patrick Henry award from the Henry County Chamber of Commerce (2011), the Senior Star Award from the University of Kentucky (2011), the A Teacher Who Made a Difference award from the University of Kentucky College of Education (2014), and the Jewish Hospital Volunteers Auxiliary’s Body, Mind, Spirit award (2018).  She has been the grand marshal for the Eminence Day parades two times and the summer of 2018 she was one of the marshals of the Henry County Odd Fellows (GUOOF) parade.   Since 2009, Martha has been very involved with her “brain child,” Pride in the Henry County Arts, which is an annual program for the community that includes music, prose, and poetry by many Henry County artists.

Martha is preceded in death by her husbands, Mark McCoy Tarry and George Easton Simpson; brothers, Richard Maxwell Sandefur and Ellis Leach Sandefur; sister, Mary Sandefur Langford; daughter-in-law, Pamela Vincent Tarry (Mike); step son-in-law, Bob Hanson (Mary); step-grandson, Joseph Earl Crosser; and great-grandson, Jack McCafferty Morris.  She is survived by her daughters, Martha Chloteen Tarry Page (Jimmie Dale) and Mary Gwendolyn Tarry Nelson (John Paul) and her son, Mark Michael Tarry; her grandchildren, Leasa Lanette Page Coulter (Kirk), Tammy Lynn Page Knipp (Tim), Jimmie Dale Page II (Molly), Teri Rene Nelson Herzog (Hans), Nannette Michele Nelson Hooker (Ken), John Paul Nelson II (Ashley), Christina Gwen Nelson Morris (Matt), Andrea Caple Nethercot (Eric), Michele Leann Tarry Simonds (Steve), Mark Vincent Tarry (Kristin);  step daughters, Mary Simpson Hanson; Margaret (Mardi) Simpson Crosser (Don); and Jessie Simpson Jackson; and step grandchildren, Michael Simpson Crosser; Robert Vinson Crosser (Amy); Jessica Suzanne Jackson; Stephanie Hanson Boaz (Craig); Lucy Hanson Schrage ; and Anne Mara Hanson Mambungu.  She is also survived by 38 great-grandchildren and 15 great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation and the memorial service for Martha Tarry Simpson will be held at the Eminence Independent School Gymnasium on Saturday, May 25, 2019.   Visitation will begin at 10:00 am and end at 1:30 followed by the service at 2:00 pm.  After the service at the school, there will be a graveside farewell at the Eminence Cemetery. 

The family would like to thank the many friends who have visited, sent cards or made calls during the last several months. We would also like to thank the staff at Valhalla Post Acute who lovingly cared for Martha.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the McCoy Tarry Scholarship Fund, c/o Eminence Education Foundation, 291 West Broadway, Eminence, Kentucky 40019 or the Eminence Independent Schools Martha Tarry Teacher of the Year Award, 254 West Broadway Street, Eminence, Kentucky 40019 or Eminence 1st Presbyterian Church, c/o Sally Harper, Treasurer, 2501 Ballantrae Circle Louisville, KY 40241.

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