Martha N.G. Holladay


Martha Nelson Gordon Holladay, 89, died peacefully on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at the home of her daughter, Janet, in Oak Bluffs, where Martha lived for almost a year, taken care of by Janet Meynisse.

Martha was born in 1921 in Christiana, Tennessee, the third child of five of Robert J. Gordon Sr. and Nora Naylor.

She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and went on to earn a masters degree in chemistry from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she met her husband-to-be, Jim William Holladay, who was completing his PhD in metallurgy. Martha and Jim were married in 1948 and soon after moved to Columbus, Ohio, when Jim began his career in scientific research at the Battelle Memorial Institute.

Martha’s three children, Ken, Janet, and Charles, were born and raised in Columbus. When they were all in school Martha went to work as a chemist, mostly at Ohio State University in the hospital laboratories.

When Martha and Jim retired in the mid-1980s they spent many pleasant years traveling around the globe — her life-long dream. Martha also enjoyed hot chocolate, bridge games, Ohio State football and basketball, but especially her three children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Jim died in 1998 and Martha came to live on Martha’s Vineyard in 2009.

Her brothers, James and Robert Jr., predeceased her. She is survived by her sisters and their families: Ruby and Alan Tatom of Conroe, Texas, Betty and Allen Becton of Swarthmore, Penn.; and Ken and Wendy Holladay of Slidell, La., their children, Ben, Annie, Sam, and Rachel; Janet Holladay of Oak Bluffs; Charles Holladay of Miami, Fla., his son, Fabian, and wife, Anna, and daughter, Elodie, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. A committal service will be conducted in Columbus in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian-Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard.