That is exactly what MarjiAnn Souder did- - she made her mark in history in numerous ways. As a student in history and a teacher, MarjiAnn shared her love of history and country with all that knew her. “”She was one of the most knowledgeable persons that I have ever met,” stated Jeanne Bedwell, teacher and friend. “The thing that strikes me, the room came alive. She had a presence and a zest for life and a vitality. She was full of laughter and wonderful stories. She made the room come alive. She was a grand lady.”
“Her knowledge of history was incredible,” stated Ginger Morris, former teacher and life long friend. “If she was not sure of something, she always searched it out. She was very methodical. She was an excellent teacher.”
MarjiAnn was born on October 5, 1934 in Pekin to William O. and Elizabeth Hartung-Hoyt Martin. She was born to a family of educators and gladly accepted the calling to teach after graduating high school. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University. She taught for 25 years, first in the New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation, and later at Pekin High School (Eastern High School.) She was the fourth generation of her family to teach in the same school district.
MarjiAnn was a history buff from the start. She received the DAR Good Citizen’s Award in high school (an award she would later bestow on many other students in the county.) At the time, she had no idea what the ward was about, but after researching the organizations, she quickly learned that the DAR was closely aligned with several of her core values. She became very active in the DAR. She served as state regent from 1994-1997 and NSDAR Vice President General from 1997-2000
MarjiAnn married her childhood sweetheart, Dawson Souder, on October 26, 1952. They had three children, Jeffrey, Peggy and Candace, who preceded her in death.
Throughout her life, MarjiAnn was active in many committees and organizations. Including National Academy Merit Selection Committee, Board member for the Washington County Community Foundation, Colonial Dames XVII Century, Michael Paul Vandervoort Chapter, Daughters of American Colonists, National Huguenot Society, Society of Indiana Pioneers, Daughters of the Union, Magna Charta Dames, US Daughters of 1812, the Washington County Historical Society, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
In 1996, MarjiAnn established the William O. Martin Fund within the Washington County Community Foundation. “She was very proud of her father and the teaching legacy within her family,” recalled Judy Johnson, Executive Director of the Foundation. “Her father loved mathematics. She established a fund that would honor the top math student each year. MarjiAnn was adamant that it should be based solely on merit and not be driven by financial need.”
“Shortly after MarjiAnn’s death, her family established the MarjiAnn Martin Souder Fund in her memory,” explained Johnson. “Like the fund MarjiAnn started for her father, this fund will honor the top student in a particular field of study. The difference is that it will be the top history student, which was MarjiAnn’s favorite subject.”
Through this fund, MarjiAnn’s love of history will live on through the students that receive the award, and so will a little bit of MarjiAnn.