Martha Tendall

November 28, 1929 ~ March 23, 2022 (age 92)


Martha Emeline Moushon Tendall, 92, of Seneca passed away Wednesday morning, March 23, at her home.

A funeral ceremony will be held on Tuesday, March 29 at noon at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, with Rev. Kris Zierke and Rev. Philip Peterson concelebrating. Visitation will be from 10:00 until noon prior to the service Tuesday at the Church. Burial will be in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Martha was born on November 28, 1929 to Lester L. and Mary M. (Burroughs) Moushon on the family farm outside Washington, Illinois. She graduated from East Peoria High School in 1947 and from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1951, working constantly to finance her own education. After receiving a degree in chemistry (with minors in mathematics and education) she began a career as a chemist at E.I. DuPont’s Seneca Works; her intellect, fortitude, and experiences growing up with seven brothers helped her navigate a workplace in which women were rare. She later served as a sixth-grade teacher at Seneca Grade School.

Shortly after arriving at DuPont, Martha met a rather charming fellow employee (who was also a singer and ballplayer) named Russell Tendall. It was a match made in heaven, if ever there was one; Martha and Russ were married in Washington, Illinois on August 31, 1952.

Martha was a longtime member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, serving actively as a Sunday School and Confirmation teacher and providing leadership to several generations of youth groups, women’s organizations, and the church council; she also worked alongside her husband in a variety of charitable and community service activities. Much of Martha’s work was motivated by a desire to feed the hungry, both far and near: she was a founder and longtime director of the Seneca Food Pantry and was renowned for organizing and preparing high-quality meals for large groups of people (most notably at Our Savior’s Lutheran, but also lending her expertise to other organizations such as the American Legion Kasal Post 457). She was a fiercely devoted and protective wife, mother, and grandmother; she was blunt when necessary, and not easily fooled; she had an enormous heart and an ability to forgive. Martha graciously adapted to her physical challenges in recent years, never losing her humor and wit; her family will always be grateful to the caregivers who made it possible for her to remain in the home she loved.

Martha was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, eight brothers (one in infancy), and one sister. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Jon and Penny Tendall of Seneca; her son Mark Tendall of Mountain View, California; her granddaughter Kirsten Tendall of Utica; several sisters-in-law; and many nieces, nephews, and others who viewed her as a mom, grandma, or role model.

Pallbearers will be Larry Vahle, Ron Ott, Lynn Hobbs, Doug Kalwa, Brad Baker, and John Wyllie.

Memorials may be directed to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, the Seneca Food Pantry, or another charity of the donor’s choice.

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