Martha Ann (Compton) Jahnke 1933 - 2020

To remember Martha is to remember hospitality, generosity, organization, laughter and love.

Martha Ann (Compton) Jahnke was born June 8, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, to George and Irene Compton. She joined older brothers, George Robert and Paul Ray. She grew up singing alto in duet with her mother’s soprano in the many Southern Baptist churches her father pastored throughout Illinois and Missouri. She graduated from Metropolis High School in Illinois and began nurses training at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

In the church choir of Bellevue Baptist Church, she met a tall tenor, Paul Jahnke, who was studying at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis. He was smitten with Martha, who was voted "most beautiful" in her nursing class. Elvis Presley also asked Martha out while she lived in Memphis. However, Paul made her laugh and eventually won her heart. They were married October 29, 1955, in Greenwood, Mississippi. Children Jonathan and Scotty were born in Memphis in 1957 and 1958. Jeffrey and Paula joined the family in 1965 and 1966, after a move to Iowa City, Iowa, where Paul attended medical school and completed his Ophthalmology residency.

The family moved to McMinnville, Oregon, in the summer of 1969. Martha was a busy and involved mother who attended the many activities of her four children, whether sports, theater, speech, band or choir. She and Paul found a church home at Bethel Baptist. Paul taught an adult Sunday school class for nearly 30 years. Martha found her niche in entertaining this large group, which sometimes numbered 50 people. She also hosted and entertained civic and hospital staff groups. She became so proficient in hospitality she eventually taught workshops on entertaining/hospitality in Oregon, Washington and California.

Included in her love of entertaining was decorating her home for each holiday, Christmas being her favorite. Everyone who had the pleasure of being in Martha and Paul’s home during Christmas have memories of laughter and holiday cheer. Each individual left with a gift of Martha’s homemade fruitcake, peanut brittle, caramel corn or locally grown filberts. Leaving a party hungry or empty-handed was just not acceptable to Martha.

Martha continued to enjoy working as a nurse in McMinnville and helped manage Paul’s Ophthalmology practice. In addition to working at Physicians Medical Center, Martha volunteered as a Yamhill County Auxiliary board president, Hospice board member, and as a nurse for Red Cross blood drives, Outdoor School, Girl Scouts and 4-H camps.

She enjoyed many social and service organizations, including the Newcomers Club and the Boys and Girls Aid Society, was a founding member and Chairman of the McMinnville Association of the Arts, and Michelbook Country Club Women’s Club and served each organization as president. She also served as board member/campaign director of United Way. She served her children’s schools as board adviser and booster club president. She was a member of P.E.O., serving as the Chapter Y president more than once. Belonging to P.E.O. held a special place in her heart, and she passed that love to her daughters and daughter-in-law when she initiated them into the Sisterhood.

Beginning in 1988, Martha and Paul welcomed 12 grandchildren in 12 years. Though at first insisting she was too young to be a grandmother, she gave her energy, generosity, laughter and love to them and cherished each one. Family holiday gatherings became especially delightful to Martha, and she passed on her love of decorating, entertaining and celebrating with joy to many of them. Nothing made her eyes brighten and sparkle more than the presence of her grandchildren. When they were around, all the world was complete for her.

Martha peacefully passed away in her Gardenview apartment on May 6, 2020. She is joyfully reunited with Paul.

Martha is survived by her children and grandchildren, son, Dr. Jonathan Jahnke and his wife, Patti, with grandchildren, Dr. Mason Jahnke, Logan Jahnke and Dr. Piper Jahnke of Carlton, Oregon; daughter, Scotty Dolence and her husband, Chuck, with grandchildren, Elizabeth Church, Hannah Eichten, Sarah Johnson and Lydia Dolence of McMinnville; son, Dr. Jeffrey Jahnke,  and his wife, Jacqui, of Delafield, Wisconsin; daughter, Paula Grow, and her husband, Arron, with grandchildren, Erin Martha Grow, Paul Grow, Gloria Bradford, Stephen Grow and Daniel Grow of Lakewood, Washington; and great-grandchildren, Levi, Ava, Micah and William Church.

Martha recognized that she was greatly blessed in her life. If you would ask her what she had accomplished, she would say, “Oh, I haven’t done too much. Paul was the smart one, not me.” However, her accomplishments were many. She would feel her greatest accomplishments were her children. Others would say her greatest accomplishment was the ability to make each person she was with feel important and cared about.
We will miss your smile, your hospitality and sharing, your humor, and your exuberant laugh; but most of all, we will miss your love.



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