Martha (McHenry) Cassity Jackson, 87, died on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, following a prolonged illness requiring care in Heritage Health: Therapy and Senior Care Center in Gillespie.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Plummer Funeral Home in Litchfield.Private family graveside services will be held Wednesday, July 10, at St. Francois Memorial Park Cemetery in Bonne Terre, MO.
Mrs. Jackson was born Feb. 9, 1932, in Bonne Terre, MO, to Pope "P.R." and Hilda Mae McHenry of Flat River, now Park Hills, MO. She married William M. Cassity in 1964, and he preceded her in death. She then married David A. Jackson on Aug. 1, 1999, and he preceded her in death.
She graduated from Flat River High School and attended Central Methodist College in Fayette, MO. She then graduated from MacMurray College in 1953, with a bachelor of music education degree.
Mrs. Jackson 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. In 1954, she began teaching elementary vocal music in Litchfield, which became Community Unit District 12, including new schools at Walshville and New Hope.
After her marriage to her first husband who was the vice president of Litchfield National Bank, she began teaching in Farmersville and then fifth grade at Madison Park Elementary. She returned to teaching music until 1971, when she returned to the fourth grade classroom at Russell School, where she retired in 1991.
Mrs. Jackson has received much recognition from her career and civic volunteer activities including 1970 Illinois Teacher of the Year, MacMurray College Alumna of the Year, Litchfield Veiled Non-Profit in 1985 and Litchfield Citizen of the Year 1995, which was presented by the Chamber of Commerce. She also received the Illinois State Board of Education "Those Who Excel" Award of Excellence in 1996 to 1997, for community assistance to the Litchfield schools. Additionally, in 2000, she received the Litchfield and 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 and Education Day.
Mrs. Jackson was the author of "On With The Show”, published in 1970. The book included 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 her second husband 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, Mrs. Jackson embarked upon building the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, with encouragement from her husband. The museum currently welcomes 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.
Mrs. Jackson is survived by her brother, M. Randolph "Randy" (wife Sheri) McHenry of New Smyrna Beach, FL, and his children, Todd, Seth, Garth, Bart and Chad McHenry; her brother Robert's living children, Lisa and Mark; and four stepchildren, Anne Jackson, David M. Jackson, Jennifer Jackson-Martin and Jeffrey Jackson.
In addition to her husbands, she was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Robert McHenry, and his son, Michael McHenry.
Memorials may be made in her name to the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center.
For more information, to light a candle or sign the online guestbook, please visit www.plummerfuneralservices.com.