Martha McGowin, 91, of Jackson died Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 at her home. She was born November 1, 1920 in Meridian, Miss. to Helen Warner McGowin and Wallace Elbert McGowin.
Her mother died of spinal meningitis seven days after McGowin’s birth. A nurse from Rush Hospital brought her to Jackson on a train. McGowin and her sister and two brothers were reared by their grandmother, Martha Virginia Moore Warner.
McGowin grew up in Jackson and graduated from State Secondary Agricultural School which was later named Jackson High School. She graduated from Alabama College for Women, presently the University of Montevallo, with a major in art and a minor in history.
From the summer of 1942 until 1945, she worked for the U. S. Corps of Engineers in Mobile. She worked as a mechanical draftsman for American Cyanamid Company in New York City from 1945- 1947.
She returned to Jackson in the fall of 1947 and taught Junior High School English and history until the summer of 1954 when she began taking courses at the University of Alabama. She taught engineering drawing part-time while earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 1958. She taught engineering drawing full-time at the University of Alabama from 1958-1980.
Following her retirement, she returned home to Jackson where she was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Clarke County Historical Society and was instrumental in the nominations of numerous historical houses in Jackson. She was a member of the Jackson Bicentennial Committee where she was instrumental in choosing the Kimbell House as a permanent gift to the city, and she worked diligently on the restoration of the house.
As an avid lover of nature, McGowin was a member and supporter of the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy and the National Wildlife Federation.
Her concern for others was manifested by her devotion and care giving to her extended family including her grandmother, whom she called, “Mama,” her sister, Helen, and the nieces, nephews and cousins she nurtured and loved. McGowin also sponsored many impoverished Latin American children during her lifetime.
The family will receive friends at The Warner Home, located at 407 East Church Street in Jackson Friday, Jan. 27, from 5-7 p.m. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at First United Methodist Church in Jackson.
She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Wallace McGowin, Warner McGowin and Jacob McGowin; sister, Helen McGowin Odom; nephew, Mike (Mary Clyde) McGowin.
She is survived by two nieces, Susan Odom McCorquodale and Gayle McGowin (Lon) Spencer; nephew, Billy Calhoun (Cindy) Odom, Jr.; dear friends, John Dowling and Barbara Hundley; devoted caregivers, Sandra Chaney, Marzell House, Elizabeth Hixon, Linda King and Adrian Hixon.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Clarke County Animal Shelter, P. O. Box 548, Grove Hill, AL 36451, Jackson Public Library, 213 College Ave., Jackson, AL 36545 or First United Methodist Church-Gaines’ Fund, 146 College Ave., Jackson, AL 36545.
Lathan Funeral Home in Jackson directed.