The Story of Martha Kidd
Martha was born May 14, 1950 in Jackson, Alabama, the fifth child of eight. Her early childhood was spent as a mischievous tomboy, active in sports and incessant in her love of reading and the quest for knowledge. That quest foreshadowed her dedication to lifelong learning. An unplanned pregnancy resulted in the birth of daughter Samantha in 1965 and threatened to end her formal education as the return to school under such circumstances was all but prohibited. That social taboo was no match for Martha’s determination and she returned to Harper High School to acquire her diploma. Active in student government and the NAACP as a sixteen year old, Martha went on to be elected President of her senior class.
In 1968, after graduation she joined her older sister, Dorothy, in Cincinnati to make her way in the world. Her first jobs were stints at McNair’s snack bar and White Castle before employment at Good Samaritan Hospital. She started in housekeeping but quickly moved through the ranks to the role of IV Technician where she helped develop the new department. She continued her lifelong learning during her subsequent employment at Jewish Hospital, The University Hospital Nephrology Department and Children’s Hospital where she supervised and planned clinical trials for pharmaceutical development and CDC data collection. In the absence of formal training she taught herself and she shared her skills and knowledge with all she mentored.
While Martha’s dedication to the hard work of lifelong learning established her esteem in the eyes of her friends the parallel track to recognition on a wider scale was paved by her athletic ability. Softball was the game and “The Bear” became the name as she joined several local teams finally settling in as the catcher and clean up hitter for Sorrento’s. As her legend grew the accolades accrued: two ASA All American selections, USSSA All World selection, and several trips to the US finals topped off by an ASA World Championship in 1976. Martha is legendary in the game as illustrated by her selection as the Catcher of the Decade for the 1970’s.
After retirement from top tier competition she remained active in sports but turned her considerable energies to her home and neighborhood, West McMicken. As a park developer, drug dealer intimidator, local support system for the elderly and beautification enthusiast she dove headfirst into the politics and personalities of her community. She purchased the vacant lot adjacent to her property at auction then proceeded to transform it into a corner green space that most mistake for a city park. Never stopping, she spearheaded her local Community Council’s efforts to promote rehabilitation in the neighborhood’s housing stock and served as an omnipresent monitor (and occasional enforcer) of street side neighborly good behavior.
Martha will be remembered as a brilliant, strong, courageous, inquisitive, energetic, insightful, and independent woman whose friendship and love were a gift to us all. She lived life to its fullest and developed her deep friendships not based on skin color, sexual preference or cultural standing but on the rewarding work of painstakingly evaluating true character. May we exemplify her strength and resilience as we honor her memory. In life she amazed us, stirred us and inspired us; in death she continues to be our ideal of eagerness to learn, willingness to do the right thing even though it be hard work and fidelity in friendship once won never abandoned.