Mrs. Martha A. Bland, 72, of Jacksonville, AR was the first born of the late Alfred and Grace Willoughby. She went to be with her Lord and friends Sunday afternoon, March 23, 2014. She was born in Sweetwater on June 5, 1941, where she grew up and graduated from Newman High School in 1959. She attended Daughon’s School of Business College in Abilene for one year and met and fell in love with Teddy R. Bland, an Air Force Airman.
She leaves behind a brother, Alfred (Sonny) Willoughby and his wife Kay and their two sons, Dan and Sara Willoughby and Clay Willoughby. Also a loving and blessed husband, Ted Bland, who will forever miss her. She was his supporter and loving partner for 53 blessed years. Her loving son Michael W. and his wife Sabra Bland of Conway, AR with their two sons and daughter, Jeremy Bland and son Hunter, Josh and Nikki Bland with their daughter, Gabriella and our only granddaughter, Kayla Bland. She also left behind her precious daughter Debora (Debbie) Kelly, her husband Kerry and their three sons, Kyle Lee a Marine in Afghanistan, and his new wife Chelsea, Ryan Lee and his daughter Elle of Jacksonville, AR and Dylan Alland, also a Marine stationed in North Carolina, with his wife Renee. Also, sister-in-law, Lynda Webb of Seattle Washington/Jacksonville AR, loving care giver.
Ms. Martha (as she was known) started working for the Air Force in 1965 at the many bases they were assigned. She arrived in Jacksonville in 1975 where her first job was with Bob Stender at State Farm Insurance Co. After four years, she received a secretarial position with the Civil Engineers on LRAFB, then moved to the Education office for another year, then to Finance for four years. She then spent four years with the Transportation section as their budget assistant. That started her career with the Base Hospital as a Budget Analyst for the next 21 years. During that time she was awarded 35 different types of plaques for her excellent work and letters and certificates of appreciation from Generals on down to Commanders that filled a 2’’ binder. On her retirement in 2009, Mayor Swaim presented her with an Outstanding Service Career medal for 30 years of service.
Ms. Martha was asked by her commander what she’d want people to say about her and her years of service and in her humble way she said, “Just tell them I always came to work and I stayed late.”
She just didn’t realize what an incredibly significant impact she had on so many people at work and at her church. For 20 years Ms. Martha served as teacher and mentor for over a dozen resource management officers and hundreds of enlisted technicians, teaching and guiding them on how to manage money “the right way”. She has touched so many lives at her church through Bible study and teaching. She lead the “Women of Faith” program for four years, taking ladies to different conferences in many states, enjoying every minute of it. She was on several committees at her church and taught several women’s classes. She loved and cared for everyone. She had a compassion for people you couldn’t believe. She will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, with Bro. Marck Gibson and Bro. Cliff Hutchins officiating. Visitation will be on Friday, March 28, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home (501) 982-2136.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, 401 North 1st Street, Jacksonville, AR 72076.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.mooresjacksonvillefuneralhome.com .