Nadine Martin Pence

Nadine Martin Pence

Sept. 20, 1916 – Oct. 14, 2018

Nadine Martin Pence died Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, less than a month after celebrating her 102nd birthday. She lived many years in Alaska, the last 12 as a resident of the Friendship Terrace in Homer.

She was born Sept. 20, 1916, to Baldwin and Alma Preston in Ottawa, Kansas. The family moved to Portland, Oregon in 1921 where Nadine’s father was a carpenter. As a teenager, Nadine worked as a caregiver. She learned to keep house and to sew, skills she excelled at all the rest of her life.

She married Edwin Martin on Dec. 3, 1936. Ed found work as fireman on a Kuskokwim riverboat in Alaska the following spring. Nadine stayed in Oregon through the summer, planning to join him for an Alaska honeymoon in the fall. She arrived in Seward by steamship and met Ed in Anchorage. He suggested they stay for the winter and she agreed. She used her sewing talent working for an Anchorage furrier. One winter turned into many more.

They had three sons — Lee, Ray and Larry. Ed became a highway patrolman for the Territory of Alaska, eventually moving his family to Homer in 1955. His office was in the back porch of their house on what is now Bartlett Street. Nadine ran the police radio for him. With the help of her sons she kept a large garden. She sewed and altered garments for people in town, served on one of the early Homer Hospital Boards, was a member of the Emblem Club and hosted a popular knitting circle in her home. Kerry Plant, whose family lived across the street from the Martins, said of Nadine: “She took in a lot of strays.” She was hospitable.

In 1960 Ed became a District Protection Officer for Alaska Fish and Game. When he retired, he and Nadine began wintering in Arizona, eventually moving to McMinnville, Oregon, for the summers. In McMinnville Nadine worked as a caregiver for senior citizens, a job she enjoyed well into her 80s. She loved square-dancing and had a good command of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Her husband Ed died in 1984. A few years later Nadine married Lee Pence. After his death, she moved back to Homer to be near her sons Lee and Larry. She was also preceded in death by her son, Ray Martin.

Nadine will be fondly remembered by her sons Lee (Laurie) and Larry (Linda) and daughters-in-law Diann Martin and Nancy Martin. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Todd Martin, Ron Martin, Ida Gullett, Tad Martin, Patrick Witzleben, Nicole Wagner, Glenn Martin and Eddie Martin; nine great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

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