- (Research):Obituary: McAlester News-Capital, published May 20, 2006.
Martin D. Mendenhall, 89, of Blocker, died Wednesday, May 17, 2006, at McAlester Regional Health Center.
Graveside services were held on Friday at Quinton Cemetary with the Rev. John Shirley of the Blocker Baptist Church officiating. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Brumley-Mills Funeral Home of McAlester.
Born Feb. 13, 1917, in the Brooken area, he was the firstborn son of J.B. ?Blake? and Ruth Lee Basden Mendenhall. He married Sybil Lenora Harper on April 19, 1950, in Fort Smith, Ark. They raised three children.
When he turned 8 years old his father gave him his first calf, resulting in a lifelong love of farming and ranching. After reaching adulthood, he worked at Cochran Wholesale Grocery and would often take his family along on his routes.
He worked on State Highway 31 when it was being built in the area. Soon afterward the area surrounding the highway was flooded by the river and rainwater and became part of Lake Eufaula.
He worked on the Talimena Scenic Drive as a dump truck owner while the road was being constructed. He drove his dump truck up the first major mountain of the twisting, curving road, which was considered very dangerous work at the time.
For 13 years he worked at Big V Feeds in McAlester. When the grainary caught on fire years ago he ran back inside to help rescue two stranded men. The roof fell in on top of him, burning him badly and causing him to spend quite some time at the burn center in Oklahoma City.
After all of that he decided to retire in 1979 and turn his hand to raising cattle in Blocker. He had a successful cow/calf operation for another two decades.
He enjoyed cutting poles and taking his children and grandchildren fishing in the pond on the farm. He taught several generations of children how to fish and hunt for turtles. The family always had a garden, which he tilled and toiled while his wife canned everything from vegetables to chickens.
In his later years he enjoyed watching television, telling stories of his childhood and what it was like to live during the Depression and the Dust Bowl.
Survivors include his wife, Sybil Mendenhall; a son and daughter-in-law, David and Mary Jo Mendenhall, of Oktaha; a son, Donnie Mendenhall and his fiancee, Tammy Weiher, of Krebs; a daughter, Carol Carlton, of Muskogee.
Also, his grandchildren, Chad Carlton and his wife, Shelly, Jennifer Roe, Matthew Mendenhall, Sharon Mundy, Alecia Mendenhall, David Lee Mendenhall and Skyeler Mendenhall.
And his great-grandchildren, Colton Carlton, Hayden Young, Rowdy Pierce and Tiffany Dugan.
And, a brother- and sister-in-law, J.R. and Betty Harper, of Arkoma.
He was also survived by his sister and brother-in-law Marie and Lew Butler, of Pinole, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his parents, J.B. ?Blake? and Ruth Lee Basden Mendenhall; an infant daughter, and two sisters, Delia Davis and Gladys Hood.