CAMBRIDGE — Martha Foxwell was born Martha Frances Simmons on Nov. 14, 1921, the second child of Blanche Aaron Simmons and Monroe Talmadge Simmons of Fishing Creek, Hooper’s Island, MD.
She married Daniel Henry Foxwell on Dec. 23, 1939, and they celebrated almost 65 years of marriage before his death in Sept. 2004. She is survived by their children: Mary Frances Duvall, wife of the late James E. Duvall, of Cambridge, MD; Henry Talmage Foxwell, husband of Shirley M. Foxwell of Lansdale, PA; and Margaret Foxwell Shipley, wife of Frederick E. Shipley Jr. of Houston, TX. Martha was also blessed to know her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her grandchildren are: James C. Duvall of Cambridge; Diana L. Foxwell of Hoboken, NJ; Lisa R. Tedesco of Pennsburg, PA; Matthew B. Shipley of Oakton, VA; and J. Brooke Shipley of Galveston, TX; great-grandchildren: Nicholas Tedesco, Thomas Tedesco, Joshua Shipley, Ryan Shipley, Megan Shipley and Daniel Shipley. She is also survived by two sisters, Mildred Brooks of Woolford, MD; and Lottie May Insley of Cambridge, MD.
Martha S. Foxwell could make a home wherever she lived. During the WWII years she traveled alone and later with her children to her husband’s duty stations, traveling from Fishing Creek through Cambridge, to Selma, Alabama, and Salina, Kansas, where her first daughter and her son, respectively, were born.
Packing crates became end tables, and boxes ser ved as other furniture but the home was always filled with her warmth and love. Her story of sneaking out of a dormitory room at a hotel to avoid her car being taken away because she had bald tires but no vouchers to get them fixed then driving to her parents’ home where the tires immediately blew out, showed us all an example of the determination, perseverance, and family-orientation of Martha.
Once established in Cambridge, Martha made a home for three children and her husband. Traveling was still important to her whether in Maryland, across the United States, or in Europe. But, her primary commitment outside of her family was to her community and her church. Born a Methodist, she converted to Catholicism and raised her children in that faith. She was an active member of the St. Mary Refuge of Sinners Altar Society, sang in the Church choir, taught Sunday School to hundreds of children and later, opened a religious goods store which contributed to the church’s operational budget.
In the community, she was an active member of the local Democrat party serving as a poll worker for many years. With the children in school, she became the Cafeteria Manager at Academy Elementary School. Later, she worked as the School Librarian at the Vienna Elementary School in Vienna, MD, passing on to other generations her love of reading.
Martha enjoyed playing sports in her school days in Fishing Creek, basketball with her children in the backyard at their Cambridge home and golf with her husband. Bridge was her favorite less physical activity and gardening, especially in her rose garden, was a passion and a talent of hers.
Martha S. Foxwell leaves behind a legacy of love of family, commitment to whatever decisions we make in life, and caring for others. Importantly, she taught us also how to properly pick a crab which she learned first-hand working in the family packing house on Hooper’s Island as a child. Oysters were our next lesson, cooked slowly on a charcoal grill where we all gathered around to talk and shuck as our prelude to Thanksgiving Dinner. Her lessons taught have become our treasured memories.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at St. Mary Refuge of Sinners Catholic Church, with Father Bruce Byrolly officiating. Interment will follow at Dorchester Memorial Park. Family will receive friends from 10 to 11 at the church.
Arrangements are in the care of the Thomas Funeral Home, P.A. in Cambridge.