Martha Jean (Murray) Anderson was born on June 6, 1925 to Maurice B. Murray and Lillian A. (Matthews) Murray of Mackinaw City, Michigan. She was the second of three children, also having older brother Hugh Murray and younger brother Richard Murray. As a child, she remembered spending many summers on Carp Lake at her parents cabin rentals, and in the gardens and orchards helping her father with their summer crops selling apples, strawberries, tomatoes and more from her wagon, walking down the street. In her teen years, she excelled in literature, music and home economics, being the pride of 4-H of Mackinaw City. Her high school graduation class of six was no match for her voracious appetite for everything written by William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and other classic authors. Her mother, the school librarian, and her father, the Mackinaw School Superintendent, would get novels and music books shipped in from local colleges to match Martha’s sharpening mind and budding pianist talent.
Upon graduation from high school in 1943, she enrolled in summer courses prior to her freshman year at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan, where she quickly met her husband to be, Harold J. (Jack) Anderson. She jokingly remembered his marriage proposal being based on the phone book, and how there were more Andersons than Murrays and how she should join the majority. Evidently feeling lucky, they wed on St. Patrick’s Day, 1945. During World War II, Martha became a welder in the airplane factory in Detroit, while Jack attended GM Tech. Together, then living in Farmington, Michigan, they started their family and she gave birth to Karen Marie, Michael Jerome, Andrew Gregory, Jennifer Annette, Jacqueline Sue, Thomas Joseph and Eric Peter.
In 1957, the family moved to Wexford, Pennsylvania where she gave birth to her eighth and ninth children, Christina Ruth and Steven Franklin. Martha continued her music pursuits, joining opera groups where she enjoyed singing. Ever the creative one, she was able to use all her talents to be a superb mother and teacher in her own right, raising the nine children all the while baking, cooking, sewing, gardening and cultivating the nine special and unique souls, with diplomacy, tact and psychology fitting for the bustling brood of Andersons.
In 1961, the family moved to Yorba Linda, California where she also attended Fullerton Junior College and California State University at Fullerton where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1970. Meanwhile, she learned how to play the clarinet to perform duets with Jennifer. Martha encouraged Jackie to play the flute and cello as well. Keeping up with her music skills, she joined the Fullerton Municipal Band where she would play in concerts in Hillsdale Park, bringing some of the children with her to listen to the music and run around on those warm summer nights. In 1971, just short of attaining her Master’s Degree in English, she matriculated to Pepperdine Law School in Santa Ana, California.
Meanwhile in 1972, the family moved to Laguna Beach, while son Tom was the oldest one at home. In Lagunita, over the Pacific Ocean, she and Jack built the house where she would reside thereafter. She graduated from Pepperdine in 1974. The Lady Lawyer was admitted to the California State Bar in 1975 and began the next chapter of her life, being an attorney. She lived in for the rest of her professional and retired life, enjoying decades of family, friends, parties and writers workshops. Ever the musical aficionado, culinary extraordinaire, and literary authority, she had a long life of laughter, hope, giving and receiving, and love. From her home, and by the grace of God, she joined eternal life on November 22, 2012, reaching the age of 87.
Martha was preceded in death by her father and mother, and her two brothers. She was also preceded in death by her former husband of 32 years, Jack, who passed away on November 22, 2010. She is survived by her nine children and their respective spouses Karen (Robert) Lebar, Michael (Margarita) Anderson, Andrew Anderson, Jennifer Anderson, Jacqueline Anderson(Steve) Rose, Thomas Anderson, Eric (Sheree) Anderson, Christina (Marco) Uguccioni, and Stephen Anderson. She is also survived by 27 grandchildren, being Karen’s children Katrina, Kerstin and Alicia; Mike’s children Jeanette, David, Marc, Jonathan, Daniel and Evan; Andy’s children Monica, Aron, Kevin and Mathew; Jennifer’s children Robert and Oliver; Jackie’s children Julie, Amy and Cari; Tom’s children Joseph and Catherine; Eric’s children Nicole, Brian and Rebecca; and Christina’s children, Laura, Michael, Arianna and Alyssa. She is also survived by 26 great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Marianne Murray, nieces Colleen Goff, Suzy Krug, and nephews Bill Murray and Patrick Murray. She will be laid to rest on December 7, 2012 at Ascension Cemetery, in Lake Forest, California, not far from her prior law office and center of those years of her life.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Martha’s name to an organization that promotes literacy.