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Betty Brockman Martin ’41

Betty wrote her thesis, “The Geodesics on a Torus and Their Isogonal Projections,” with Prof. Frank Griffin [math 1911–56]. She and her sister, Wanda Brockman ’40, were proud to be Reed graduates. After college Betty began working at NASA, leading a group of women doing work with the slide rule that is now done by computer. She quit in 1945 to marry Andrew Martin, and they moved to Bellevue, Washington, where Andy took a job with Boeing. When Andy was transferred, the family, which included three daughters and a son, moved to Huntsville, Alabama. They returned to Bellevue in 1966, but with the Boeing cutback in 1972 (which led to the billboard reading “Would the last person leaving Seattle turn off the lights?”), Andy found civil service work  at the Justice Department. A series of transfers moved them to Atlanta, Tallahassee, Raleigh, and Lexington. Betty returned to civil service as well, this time as an IRS auditor. She enjoyed being back at work, developing rapport with workers, and meeting the “amusing” public. Her innate leadership skills became evident and she ended up as lead in her office.

With all the moves around the South, Betty discovered a hobby in Civil War history. The couple retired to Bellevue, and following Andy’s death, Betty became very involved with her church, especially with missions work. She remained a voracious reader, particularly of American history, with a partiality to anything related to Abraham Lincoln. One day she said, “I wish someone would give me a bust of Lincoln.” She remained cognizant to the end and passed away in her home, as she had requested. She is survived by three of her four children.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2017

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