Saturday, December 13, 2014

Martha Gasque, Tireless Worker in War Effort and Influenza Pandemic, Died Dec. 17, 1918

“Mrs. Boyd Gasque Dead,” from the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, Dec. 19, 1918

Mrs. Boyd R. Gasque died Tuesday night at 11 o’clock from pneumonia. She was taken ill with influenza on the 6th, while nursing her two sons; on the 11th pneumonia developed, and death followed on the 17th.

The funeral was conducted at Eastside cemetery Wednesday afternoon by Rev. G.F. Smith, assisted by Rev. W.R. Coppedge. The grave was sweetly lined with flowers and greens by her companions in the Canteen work. Mrs. F.W. Leak and Miss Long, Messrs. Perry West and Stancill Covington rendered a quartette, “When the Mists Have Rolled Away.”

Mrs. Gasque was born Oct. 6, 1878. On Dec. 10, 1902, she was married to Boyd R. Gasque, and to them survive two sons, Boyd Jr. and Robert. Also surviving are her husband, mother, Mrs. Rosa S. Johnson, and to this closely knit family is the sympathy of a host of friends who were happy and proud to call her their friend.

Martha J. Gasque’s very soul was enlisted in the various war agencies. She lent her brilliant mind, tireless energy and warm-hearted unselfishness wholly to this work. As chairman for Richmond county of the Woman’s Committees of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Liberty Loans, she was instrumental in having the county go over the top. She was a steady attendant upon the Red Cross Sewing Room and a never failing worker in the Canteen at Hamlet, being Captain of one of the days served by the Rockingham chapter. She was chairman of the Women’s Committee for the United War Work Drive, and was actively engaged as chairman of the Christmas Roll Call when her untimely death occurred.

During the influenza epidemic in October she was in charge of the nourishment committee in providing soups, etc., for the sick. When her brother, Robt. L. Johnson, was sworn in on Dec. 2nd as Register of Deeds, she was installed as his deputy clerk, and though she served in that capacity but a week, yet in that time she demonstrated that her ability was more than equal to the duties entailed.

All in all, her days were filled with work for others, and hers was ever a labor of love. She has gone before to that unknown and silent shore. A woman, sympathetic, loyal and true has gone from our midst, and in her passing we who are left behind are the losers.

“So fades a summer cloud away;
So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;
So gently shuts the eye of day;
So dies a wave along the shore.”

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