Like the Martha of the New Testament, Martha Kallus had the heart and soul of a servant. Throughout her life, Martha endeavored to help others.
Martha Ann (White) Kallus was born in Big Spring, Texas on June 16, 1937 and died on November 18, 2021 in the presence of her daughters, Elizabeth Kallus and Mary Kallus after a brief battle with pancreatic and bone cancer.
Martha grew up on the family ranch near Vincent, Texas with her parents, Binie and Nell White, and her brother, Binie Lee White. She attended school in Coahoma, Texas. After graduating from Coahoma High School, she attended Texas Technological College (Texas Tech) in Lubbock, earning a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics Education. Martha began her career as a teacher in January of 1959 in Plainview, Texas. The cold weather and teaching assignment for the next year did not appeal to her so she looked for a place closer to home and accepted a position in Midland, Texas.
There in Midland, Martha met her best friend and the love of her life, Daniel J. Kallus, in the Midland High School cafeteria. They were married on June 1, 1963 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Big Spring, Texas and began raising a family a few years later.
Martha served her community as a teacher in the public schools for 30 years, spending the majority of her career at Midland Senior High School impacting the lives of thousands of students in Home Economics and Special Education.
Martha volunteered her time in organizations and projects throughout the years, especially after she retired in 1996. Some of the organizations she volunteered for included Midland Symphony Guild, American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, Midland Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels of Midland, Rotary Club of Midland, and St. Ann’s Catholic Church. She was a recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Council in 2013.
Martha was passionate about her involvement in the retired teacher organizations. She served on and chaired several committees at the local level of the Midland Association of Retired School Personnel and at the district and state levels of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). She even served as president both locally and for District 18. In addition, she was very involved in the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). She was recently named the recipient of the E.L. Galyean Service Award for 2022 from TRTA. This is the highest award given by the TRTA and recognizes outstanding volunteer service at the state level.
Martha was always fascinated by history and spent time researching her family tree. As a result, she was able to become a member of and served in various roles in the Aaron Estes Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.
Martha had a very artistic side. She enjoyed textiles and began sewing alongside her mother at the ranch as a child and continued this skill throughout her life. She often sewed clothes for her daughters and quilts for family members. She loved embroidery and needlework as well and met weekly with a small group of friends to stitch. She had a lifelong interest in letter formation and calligraphy. She spent hours and years perfecting her craft, creating pieces to share with and comfort her friends and family. Her interest in calligraphy led her to attend several workshops and courses throughout the years. She attended courses at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for several summers. Her interest in lettering continued for a lifetime and she maintained membership for years in the San Antonio Calligraphers’ Guild where she once had the opportunity to study under the Queen of England’s Scribe. She was also active locally with the Midland Calligraphy Guild. She even attended trainings through the Edmonton (Canada) Calligraphic Society via Zoom throughout the pandemic.
Martha was a charter docent at the George Bush Childhood Home. In addition to being a docent, she collaborated on the creation of the docent guide and helped establish the MISD school tours of the museum.
Martha remained involved with the ranch she loved and grew up on, even working cattle into her 80s. She and her brother were in a partnership in all aspects of an active ranching and farming operation for over 50 years and maintained ownership of the ranch, which has been in the family well over a century. In preparation of the ranch’s centennial, Martha and her brother, Binie, applied to have the Flache-White Ranch recognized in the Family Land Heritage Program sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The ranch was formally recognized by the program in August of 2003. In 2009, the ranch received the Pioneer of the Year Award at the 85th Annual Howard-Glasscock Old Settlers Reunion. She and her brother remained involved in the community at Vincent up until the time of their deaths in 2021.
Dan and Martha were lifelong partners in every sense of the word. They supported one another’s efforts professionally throughout their careers, jointly participating in mutual interests and in the lives of their daughters. Dan and Martha enjoyed spending time together traveling, visiting friends and relatives, and volunteering with St. Ann’s Catholic Church and the Rotary Club of Midland. Steadfast and true to her Dan, Martha cared for her husband for the last seven years of his life after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. They were married for 55 years before he passed away in August of 2018.
Martha is survived by her daughters Elizabeth Kallus of Arlington, Texas and Mary Kallus of Portales, New Mexico; sister-in-law Edna White; nieces Denise Goodwyn (Craig), Jennifer Bubany (Charles), and Angela Kallus; nephews Brad White (Gigi), Richard Kallus (Pamela), David Kallus, and Andrew Kallus (Linda) as well as numerous great nieces and nephews.
Martha was preceded in death by her husband, Dan Kallus, her parents, Binie and Nell White, and her brother, Binie Lee White.
The family would like to express their gratitude for the support of their family and friends, especially Dr. Shylesh Ganta, Dr. Greg Bartha, Kindred Hospice, and the wonderful caregivers from Cowden Cottage at The Villages of Manor Park and Lowery In-Home Care. She had so many wonderful, lifelong friends who remained close and true to her especially over these last few months.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (https://www.trtf.org/TRTF/Donations/Donation_Home.aspx), St. Ann’s Educational Endowment Fund (1906 West Texas Avenue, Midland, TX 79701), or Senior Life Midland (PO Box 80519, Midland, TX 79708) which all held special places in Martha’s heart.
The family will receive friends at 5:00 pm Monday, November 22, 2021 at The Branch at NPW at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home in Midland. For those who wish to attend, a rosary will be recited immediately following in the Nalley-Pickle & Welch Chapel at 6:30 pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Midland. Graveside will be held on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Trinity Memorial Park in Big Spring.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Midland Texas. Online condolences may be made at www.np.welch.com.