Martha Ann Jernigan was born in Bells, Texas on February 23, 1930 to Amber Parker and Virgil Jernigan. She was the fourth of six children born during the Depression to bless the Jernigan household: Amos, Elbert, Imogene, Martha, Valeta and Jerry. The family flourished in Bells, Texas – Virgil Jernigan owned a successful company, Jernigan Grain Company, and although times were tight, the family never suffered. The Jernigan’s were one of the first families to own a car in Bells.
Martha was Valedictorian of her graduating class in Bells, and went on to attend North Texas State College and studied journalism. Martha left school early to take care of her mother who was very ill. After her mother’s recovery, Martha took a job in Sherman, working in the finance department of an auto dealership. And as fate would have it, she met a nice young Airman, Rex, who was stationed at Perrin Air Force Base. For Rex Warren it was love at first site, but Martha wouldn’t date him because he was dating her roommate. Rex broke up with the roommate, waited an appropriate amount of time because people were very proper in the 1950’s, and asked Martha out on a date. She agreed this time, and they were married in her parents’ home in Bells, Texas on October 26, 1951.
Rex and Martha were totally devoted to each other for all of their 65 years of married life. After they married, Rex was transferred to Florida where they lived there until Rex was discharged from the service in 1953, and they returned to north Texas, finally settling in Arlington. Family was very important to Martha and Rex – family vacations, fun times, and togetherness was more important than things.
After the children were in high school, Martha decided to go back to work and she became a successful real estate agent for about 15 years. Rex worked for Temco, LTV, and Braniff during that time, but when Braniff went under Rex retired, so Martha retired, and they became Antique Dealers full time. They had a booth in almost every antique mall in the Arlington area – The Sampler, The Bowler Hat, the Antique Marketplace, Cooper Street Antique Mall, and others. They said that the most fun time of their life together was when they could travel the country and do antique shows. They did shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts; Kansas City, Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Houston Quilt Show; Ralph Willards Antique Show; and even a show in New York, meeting many wonderful people along the way. For many years they would lease a house in the summer in York, Maine and travel in New England buying antiques, and doing shows. After Rex passed, Martha was able to move into a dream apartment at Town Village Crossing in Arlington, where she met many new friends, and had a wonderful time.
Martha and Rex were both Christians, belonging to several Baptist churches – First Baptist Church, Fielder Road Baptist Church, Bellevue Baptist Church in Hurst, and University Baptist Church.
When asked about her relationship with Martha, Melanie Ostheimer replied, “Martha Warren was a fascinating woman. I shall miss our time together. Her favorite afternoons were spent driving around while eating ice cream, reading our horoscopes, and looking at the treasures she had collected over the years. Nothing made her more happy than Blue Bell ice cream on sale at Kroger. I feel very blessed that Martha regarded me as her best friend.” Her son Kevin noted, “Mom was always fair and just while raising us. We got rewarded for good behavior and she would take off her shoe for bad behavior.
She always showed love, and she considered that the most important part of her job.” Her daughter Kim reminds us about the story while shopping for furniture in J.C. Penney’s. Remember that she’s only 4’11”, and she knows what she likes. But a salesman keeps following her around and asking her questions. After telling him several times that she was just looking, she finally had enough, and turned around and told the salesman, “If you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to walk all over you.” She was a force to be reckoned with. Daughter Tamara adds, “Growing up I thought I had the most fun parents! We had a great time as a family, and I am truly blessed to be Martha and Rex’s daughter.” Martha’s friend Jennifer reminds us that Martha is finally with Rex and the roads in heaven are paved with French Silk Ribbon Flowers and metallic trim.” We are pretty sure that there is a bottomless coffee pot in heaven too!
Preceded in death by her parents Amber and Virgil Jernigan, brothers Elbert Jernigan and Amos Jernigan; son Michael Warren; and beloved husband of 65 years Rex L. Warren, Jr.
Martha, also known as Mom, Gran, and GiGi is survived by: Children – Tamara Robbins and husband Larry; Kimberly Warren and husband Ken Hudson; Kevin Warren; and daughter-by-choice Melanie Ostheimer. Grandchildren: Jason Warren; Shawn Robbins and wife Mecca; Faith Adamson and husband Corey; Amber Robbins; Kyle Warren and wife Jessica; Warren Carlson and wife Megan; Cody Warren; Cheyenne Warren. Great grandchildren: Garrett Warren, Chase Warren, Cameron Robbins, Nic Robbins, Allie Adamson, Cheyanne Warren, Alex Robbins, Jake Adamson, Chance Robbins, Myla Warren, Reese Robbins, Izzie Robbins, Sammy Warren, and Jack Warren. Brother: Jerry Jernigan. Sisters: Imogene Blackburn, Valeta Vineyard; many nieces and nephews, and multiple friends at Town Village Crossing.
Gathering of friends and family, Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Wade Funeral Home and Crematory, 4140 West Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, Texas 76013. Graveside service will be held Saturday May 14,2022 at 11:00AM at Rosehill Cemetery, Bells, Texas.