How does a native Wisconsinite, who spent stints in Kentucky and Tennessee, end up in the suburbs of Detroit? The answer: A great work ethic, a loving family, and an adventurous spirit. And that’s exactly what you’ll find when you meet Martha, this month’s resident spotlight at Oakmont Northville.

A Start in the Dairy State

Though she has called Michigan her home since 1950, Martha’s journey didn’t begin in the Mitten. She was born in Wisconsin to loving parents, but the family soon moved to Kentucky and Tennessee where she did much of her growing up. They had family there, and her father was able to get a job during the war working for Eastman Kodak – a job at which his daughter would soon join him.

“We both worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during the war for Eastman Kodak,” she said. “We lived there for seven years before moving to Bristol,” another city in the Volunteer State.

Before their move to Tennessee, Martha spent much of her time going to school and church with the man who would eventually become her husband. They both lived near Owensboro, and when he returned from the European Theater where he served as a member of the Army Infantry during the war, they would make the decision to move north to Michigan to make a new life for themselves.

“He just wasn’t happy doing what he was doing at that time,” she said, in reference to her husband’s job in statistics. “He had been to Michigan before he went into the service, and liked it, so we decided to come here.”

A Move to Michigan

After arriving in Michigan and settling into the Detroit area, Martha’s husband worked some odd jobs until finally landing at General Mills as a salesman. The couple soon had six children, and despite the full house, Martha’s work ethic never failed her, becoming a seamstress and eventually working in a bank.

“I worked as a seamstress,” she said. “I did tailoring, too. I tailored all of his suits and all of the children’s coats and everything. Years later I went to work at a bank and became head teller,” Martha said.

Though her husband got sick and their neighborhood turned less-than-safe, that didn’t stop her. She continued working, and eventually moved to the Northville area where she’s been ever since. Her children, now mostly retired, have given her eight lovely grandchildren (the oldest is now 50) that she tries to see as much as possible.

When Martha made the decision that she was ready to move into senior living, she and her daughter visited Northville and knew that’s where she wanted to be. That was two years ago, and her feelings about the community haven’t changed.

“I love it here,” she said. “I’m not much of a joiner, and they leave you to do the things you want to do. I really do love it here.”