Martha is the oldest of four children raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, by Leonard and Mildred Grimes. After graduating from high school, she studied two years at Iowa State University and then transferred to Northern Arizona University Flagstaff. As the only woman majoring in Business Management, she learned what it felt like to be in the minority. Upon graduation from NAU, she entered the world of big business by working for Shell Oil Company in San Francisco. After a year, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and started her career in public service. She worked for the federal government with the "War on Poverty" program; she worked for the State of Iowa as Director of the Iowa Drug Abuse Authority, and currently serves Marshall County, Iowa, as the Marshall County Auditor. It is not clear if she developed her sensitivity for the needs of others from her parents or her experience in business management, but there is no doubt that she enjoys making life better for others. As a county auditor, she is in charge of elections and works hard to bring the right to vote to all citizens of Marshall County. She continues the work of Carrie Chapman Catt and is a heroine to those fortunate enough to know her.