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What an amazing person & what a remarkable life. I feel so lucky that Mrs. Martha was part of my family. Her shining personality will live on in our hearts. Wishing you all comfort & peace during this difficult time. Kiki & Family
Martha Carswell Biedenkapp
Martha Carswell Biedenkapp of Fernandina Beach, Florida, passed away on January 2, 2023, in the Retreat at Osprey Village on Amelia Island, Florida, with her daughter Martha Carswell Pennington by her side. She was just shy of her 97th birthday, having been born on January 17, 1926.
She was born Martha Lou Carswell in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of Mec Batey Carswell of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Raymond Haines Carswell of Jacksonville. Raymond Carswell was the Duval County Tax Collector and owned a drugstore on Main Street and other properties in Jacksonville. Mec Carswell was a painter who had studied art in New York City and owned an apartment building on Olga Place.
Martha grew up in the Riverside neighborhood and attended Lee High School and Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, before marrying Rohe V. Pennington, Jr., at the time a naval officer and recent Annapolis graduate who was an engineer and inventor with whom she had four children. She later graduated from Berry College in Rome, Georgia, with a B.A. in English Literature. After living for many years in Nashua, New Hampshire, Rome, Georgia, and Atlanta, Georgia, in 1976 Martha and Rohe moved to Fernandina Beach, where Rohe set up a company to sell his most recent invention, the Pennington Steam Box, and they moved into the new ocean-front condominium building, Amelia by the Sea. Not long after their move, Martha was widowed. She then obtained her teaching credential and taught for a time at Fernandina Beach High School, before marrying her second husband, John Biedenkapp, owner of J.B. Manufacturing, Inc., in Jacksonville. They lived at Amelia by the Sea, and Martha worked with John at his company. She was widowed again at age 62 and never remarried, living on in her place by the sea.
Besides being a very involved wife and mother for much of her life, Martha was a superb athlete who garnered trophies in golf and tennis, continuing to play in mixed doubles tennis tournaments to age 85 with her friend Bob Awtry, affiliated with the Kraft Athletic Club. She was also an accomplished diver and swimmer, who enjoyed teaching children those water sports and had a special knack for teaching Down Syndrome children how to swim. She was highly musical, loved to sing and played the piano, the ukulele, and the guitar. She had many hobbies, spanning flower arranging, gardening, painting, and yoga. She was a Board member of the Jacksonville City Rescue Mission, an ardent supporter of the Salvation Army, and an active member of the Fernandina Beach Memorial United Methodist Church and its Ladies Circle.
Martha is predeceased by her two husbands and by her son, Rohe V. Pennington, III, of Fernandina Beach; her brother Raymond Haines Carswell, Jr., of Jacksonville; and her older sisters, Mildred Carswell Fouts, of Tampa, Florida, and Mary Margaret Fowler, of Kingston, New York, and Fernandina Beach. She is survived by her youngest sister, Mec Carswell Shuler, Nocatee, Florida (formerly of Fernandina Beach); her daughters Martha Carswell Pennington, Fernandina Beach, and Judith Ann Pennington, Brookfield, Connecticut; her son, William Michael Pennington, and his wife Emilie Pennington, Jacksonville (formerly of Fernandina Beach); in addition to her grandchildren by Rohe V. Pennington III and his wife Ellen Lavery Pennington, Fernandina Beach (formerly, Dover, New Hampshire): Adam Granville Pennington, Arlington, Virginia, and Molly Carswell Pennington Pilz, Holly Springs, North Carolina; and grandchildren by Judith Ann Pennington and her former husband, Aart William Hoogenboom, Danbury, Connecticut: David Aart Hoogenboom, Danbury, Connecticut; Kevin Jay Hoogenboom and his wife, Maud van Leeuwen Hoogenboom, Scottsdale, Arizona; and Summer Jane Hoogenboom, Boston, Massachusetts; two great-grandchildren by Molly Carswell Pennington Pilz and her husband Karl Josef Pilz: Blake Anderson Pilz and Connor Carson Pilz – all Holly Springs, North Carolina; and many nieces and nephews and their children in the greater Jacksonville area and in other parts of the country.
A memorial ceremony will be held at Oxley-Heard Funeral Home at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 14, followed by a graveside burial ceremony for family members at 1:00 pm at Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville. Those who cannot attend but wish to remember Martha may wish to give donations in her name to the Jacksonville City Rescue Mission or Salvation Army.