Barbara B. McMartin

Honored by:Maria M. Poeppelmeier
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BARBARA BECHTEL MCMARTIN was born August 14, 1919 to Elser and Pearle Bechtel in Hibbing, Minnesota. Perhaps being born the year women gained suffrage was a protend for her character and presence. She grew up in the mining center of Hibbing, Minnesota which prospered during the first half of the century because of the iron ore of the Mesabi Range. Barbara attended Milwaukee Downer College a women's college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

After two years she moved to St. Paul to continue her education at the University of Minnesota. She pledged into the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and graduated in 1941 with a degree in Home Economics in Business. The world at war Barbara entered the workforce like many other women of her generation. She worked for the Schaeffer Pen Company as a research chemist using her knowledge of textiles to help develop washable ink. At the completion of the war she became an extension agent in Blue Earth County, Minnesota.

For several years she translated the new technologies and the fundamentals of home management principles for women in rural areas. In 1947 she met her mate an ambitious young man a farmer Finally McMartin. They were married and began to live a model post war life. Together using her home economics background and his knowledge of agriculture they built a modern model farmhouse. Together they competed for ribbons and honors at the county and state fairs she with her fine sewing talents and he with champion cattle. Together they began their family of four Finlay the 5th Maria Kenneth and Flora. In 1959 they left the farm and moved to the city: Sioux Falls, South Dakota where they built their second home.

Barbara's years here centered around an active family life. She assumed active leadership teaching and organizational roles in PTA the Presbyterian Church the YWCA and both Boy and Girl Scouts. After a brief move to Owatonna, Minnesota Barbara and Finlay settled in Ames, Iowa in 1969 and built their third home. Ames was a community for involvement and Barbara got involved. She was a member of the Collegiate Presbyterian Church Tri-T PEO Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnaes and various informal social groups. The University provided a stimulating Home Economics environment and Barbara thrived on catching up with the new ways.

With their four children grown and educated Barbara and Finlay traveled to visit the places of their ancestors always coming back to indulge in their garden which ultimately led them into the production of apple cider and home-made wine. Barbara was an active charter member of the Green Hills Residence-a community that actively attempted to connect ISU to its larger community by creating a place for retired ISU faculty and alumnae to live and work. It was here that she and Finlay retired in 1986 building their fourth and final home. Barbara died after a battle with breast cancer in February 1988; Finlay died in 1994.

Written in loving memory by: Flora Pearle McMartin, & Maria McMartin Poeppelmeier