Close to her GF rootsMartha Carpenter dies at 96 BY AMY CODISPOTI | JOURNAL REPORTER Martha Charlotte Carpenter, a long-time Granite Falls resident and a cornerstone of the city’s history, passed away on March 16 at the age of 96.
Carpenter was born in her family’s Granite Falls home in 1910, a mere seven years after the town was officially incorporated.
“She spent the majority of her life living within a two block radius of that home,” said her daughter Elsie Orr.
Granite Falls was bursting with potential and Carpenter’s family, with their eyes set on enhancing local business, was integral in its growth.
Carpenter’s grandparents arrived in Granite Falls from Germany shortly after the Big Seattle Fire of 1889. After settling into their new residence, they opened up a shoe store in town, which they owned and operated for years.
Carpenter’s father William Earl owned Earl’s Livery Stable and the Lumberman Hotel.
“People always said my grandfather brought the first car to Granite Falls,” said Orr.
Carpenter moved to Montana for several years, but after her divorce from her first husband, returned to Granite Falls to raise her three daughters.
“She did a good job raising us,” said her daughter. “It was hard back then to be a single mom, but she did it. She worked at many places around town, as a cook and in the berry fields.”
During World War II, one of Carpenter’s jobs was to watch out for airplanes that might fly over the city.
“I remember her having to climb the ladder to the top of City Hall,” said her daughter. “There was a small building up there for the people to use. We lived right next to City Hall, so she could look down on me and my sisters.”
In 1953, she married John Carpenter.
“After mom married John, we moved across the street,” said her daughter with a smile. “There we had apple and cherry trees, a big garden and a row of raspberries.”
Aside from her family, the flower garden proved to be the joy of Carpenter’s life. She nourished her flowers with time, attention and love, and kept mowing her own lawn well into her 80’s.
“Mom always had beautiful flowers and yard,” Orr said. “In those days, there were no florists, so many people would stop and ask if they could have some flowers for a wedding or graduation. She usually gave them some.”
Carpenter was an active member of the Granite Falls Eagles, where she served several positions from 1970 to 2001, including Mrs. Eagle in 1992-1993.
She also belonged to the Granite Falls Sportsman Club, where she regularly helped out for the annual Turkey and Ham Shoots.
Carpenter helped start the Granite Falls Firemen Auxiliary, helping to make quilts for families that had lost their home to fire and gathering food baskets at Christmastime. She also was active with the Granite Falls Senior Center and Granite Falls Food Bank.
In 2003, in honor of her years of contributions to the city and in recognition of her character, Carpenter was asked to cut the ribbon for the new road in Granite Falls, marking the city’s Centennial.
It was a privilege she was delighted to accept, and as she went home that day, just blocks away from where she was born, she remembered her family’s role in the town she still loved the town she loved until the day she died.