Martha McHenry Cassity Jackson was born on February 9, 1932, in Bonne Terre, MO and left this earth to be with the Lord she served, on Wednesday June 26, 2019, following a prolonged illness requiring care in the Heritage Health Center in Gillespie, IL. Her mind remained strong as her physical health declined. Her passing was preceded by a life of many accomplishments. She graduated from Flat River High School, attended Central Methodist College in Fayette, MO, graduated in 1953 from MacMurray College with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She fulfilled her classroom teaching requirements at SIU, and her Master’s Degree in School Administration from Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois at Springfield). Her first teaching assignment was in elementary music in Columbus, GA, in 1953. She came to Litchfield in 1954 as the elementary vocal music teacher. This was the year that Litchfield became Community Unit District 12, which included new schools at Walshville and New Hope. After her marriage in 1964 to William M. Cassity, Vice President of Litchfield National Bank, she taught in Farmersville and then fifth-grade in Madison Park. She returned to teaching music until 1971, returning to the fourth-grade classroom in Madison Park, and to the fifth-grade learning center at Russell School, retiring in 1991. On August 1, 1999, Martha married David A. Jackson. Martha has received recognition from her career and civic volunteer activities. 1970 Illinois teacher of the Year, 1970 MacMurray College Alumna of the Year, Litchfield Veiled Non-Profit in 1985, Litchfield Citizen of the Year 1995, presented by the Chamber of Commerce, in 1996-97 she received the Illinois State Board of Education “Those Who Excel” award of excellence for community assistance to the Litchfield schools. In 2000 she received the Litchfield & Illinois Woman of Achievement Award. She was active in the United Methodist Women’s Club of St. Timothy UMC in Litchfield and was a former member of the Carnegie Library Board, The Zonta Club and Beta Sigma Phi. She has served on the Litchfield Chamber of Commerce Education Committee where she instituted the Adopt A Class Project, and chaired the Business & Education Day. She was the author of “On With The Show”, published in 1970, a book of 12 elementary school program ideas to assist teachers; compiled the pictorial book “Seven Proposals to Improve Education”, “A View of Our City” with the assistance of Brenda Ussery, Dick Guyan, and Al Lopinot, to present to Lincoln Land Community College to encourage them to select Litchfield as the LLCC southern region campus. She and Dave edited the 150-year history of St. Timothy United Methodist Church, the church she attended and served in many capacities. She co-chaired the Sesquicentennial History Book of Litchfield, published in 2002. In June of 2012, at the age of 80, having purchased land in the heart of Litchfield, she embarked upon building the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, with encouragement from her husband. The museum currently welcome over 8,000 visitors annually. Until her health declined, she personally greeted guests, a last example of the selfless giving and dedication of this much beloved woman, to her friends in the community, and to the thousands of strangers who would be passing through.
She is survived by her brother M. Randolph (Randy) McHenry and his wife Sheri McHenry of New Smyrna Beach, FL. and Randy's sons, her nephews, Todd, Seth, Garth, Bart and Chad McHenry and her brother Robert's living children, Lisa and Mark She was also survived by four step-children: Anne Jackson, David M. Jackson, Jennifer Jackson-Martin and Jeffrey Jackson. Martha was preceded in death by husband Bill Cassity and second husband, David Jackson both of Litchfield, and parents, Hilda Mae And Pope (P.R.) McHenry of Flat River, now Park Hills, MO. Also preceding her in death was brother Robert McHenry of CA and Robert's son, Michael McHenry.
Private family graveside services will be held on Wed., July 10, 2019 at St. Francois Memorial Park Cemetery in Bonne Terre, MO. Visitation will be held Tues., July 9, 2019 from 5 – 7 p.m. in Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield. Memorials may be made in her name to the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center
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Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center
334 N. Old Rt. 66 N. P.O. Box 43, Litchfield IL 62056