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Martha Elizabeth Powell Wilson ’25

A picture of Martha Powell Wilson

Martha Elizabeth Powell Wilson ’25, November 19, 2009, in Annapolis, Maryland; she was 105. Martha was born in Mitchell, South Dakota, and started her schooling in Cove, in the Grande Ronde Valley of Oregon. Her commute to Reed as a day-dodger from her family's home in Vancouver, Washington, took an hour and half, with many miles traveled on foot. She attended the college during its golden age, she told Cricket Parmalee ’67 in an oral history interview in 2004. “I was always satisfied that I had gone to Reed instead of some other college, because I think it gave me a better background for life.” Martha majored in contemporary literature and minored in classical literature, completing her thesis, “George Bernard Shaw: A Classic at Heart,” the same year that Shaw received a Nobel Prize. In October 1925, she married her high school sweetheart, Ralph E. Wilson, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a career navy officer; they raised a son and two daughters. In 1989, they settled into the Ginger Cover Retirement Community in Annapolis; Ralph died a year later. Survivors include their children, nine grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Martha's sister, Evangeline Powell ’27, also graduated from Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2010

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