Martha Mae Norwood, lovingly known by her generation of the family as “Li’ Sis” (Little Sister), was born to Henry and Hattie Norwood on Sept 28, 1934 in Bolivar County, MS. Early in her childhood Martha accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. She was raised in church as a faithful member of First Baptist Church in Mound Bayou, MS. Martha attended Mound Bayou Elementary School and Mound Bayou High School. Immediately after high school, when she was hired as the head cook at George’s Grill, she discovered a passion for cooking that stayed with her the rest of her life.
In 1964 Martha moved to Chicago and enrolled in nursing school. Upon graduating nursing school, she began working for Illinois Masonic Hospital where she devoted the next 35 years of her career. She found a new church home in Pilgrim Baptist Church, under Pastor Hudson, where she remained a faithful member and Sunday school attendee for many years.
Though she had no biological children of her own Martha tenderly cared for thousands of infants in the neonatal unit at Illinois Masonic Hospital. However, the children whose lives she touched the most were those of her 9 nieces, 8 nephews and 39 great nieces and nephews — all of whom affectionately refer to her as “Auntie”. With such a large family, from one generation to the next, Auntie always had a heart for cooking and welcoming family to her table. It was known throughout the family that if you wanted a down-home meal, you could always go to Auntie’s or Li’ Sis’. She cooked with great love and was most revered for her delicious cakes and pies made from scratch.
With a smile on her face, Martha went home to be with the Lord on April 3, 2017. Left to cherish her memory, Martha is survived by 4 siblings (Samuel, Beoria, Charlie and Johnnie), a sister-in-law (Nancy) and a myriad of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She will be dearly missed.
Martha was preceded in death by her father (Henry), her mother (Hattie), brothers (Willie D & Henry Lee) and sister (Mary Lee).