Mrs. Martha Jane Sandy Rush

Mrs. Martha Jane Sandy Rush, 84, of Blacksburg, Va., departed this life on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, in the Kroontje Health Care Center, at Warm Hearth Village retirement community, in Blacksburg, Va.

Martha was born May 18, 1929, and was adopted from the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, to Blanche and John H. Sandy of Cairo, W.Va.

Growing up in Cairo, Jane (as her family called her) was daughter of the owner of the John H. Sandy Mercantile store, and later Mr. Sandy was the president of The Farmers and Merchants Bank of Cairo. Jane graduated from Cairo High School in the Ritchie County School System in 1947, and went on to attend Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music, where she met Laird L. Rush, whom she married on Dec. 23, 1950. Martha (as she’s been known since college) gave birth to Deborah Paige Rush on Oct. 16, 1951, in Harrisonburg, Va., and two years later a son, John Steven, born on July 23, 1953, and died on July 24, 1953. Her daughter, Deborah, worked as a nurse in Richmond, Va. Laird coached and taught at Albemarle High School for 10 years while Martha taught kindergarten at Ridgelawn School in Charlottesville, where they lived. Martha later had her own private kindergarten out of their home. There were several moves as Laird worked toward his doctorate at Duke University. During the two year sabbatical from Radford University to Duke, Martha taught in the Durham City School System. Later, after accepting a position at Virginia Tech, Laird and Martha moved to Blacksburg.

In the summer of 1980, Martha was contacted by her biological sister, Edna, and mother, Ida, which resulted in Laird, Martha and Deborah attending a Welch family reunion outside Indianapolis, Ind. Martha kept in touch with sisters, Edna and Arbutus, and a brother, Ernest, over the years since, and they traveled to visit in Blacksburg during the holidays. A twin brother, who was adopted just after Martha, was unable to be located for the reunion, or since.

After Laird retired in 1988, Martha and he moved into the Warm Hearth Village in Blacksburg. Martha was active in Eastern Star, and Laird in the Masons. She enjoyed playing her piano, watching movies, reading and walking their Terrier, “Ginger”. Martha was married to Laird for 63 years, prior to his passing on Oct. 5, 2013, and is survived by their daughter, Deborah Paige Rush; a niece, Dr. Susan E. Rush; and nephew, James W. Rush Jr.

The family will hold a viewing from 2-3 p.m., prior to a 3 p.m. service at Kyger Funeral Home, 3173 Spotswood Trail, Harrisonburg 22801, on Sunday, Jan. 19. An internment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, McGaheysville.