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Martha Helen Pender
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Birth: Nov. 8, 1927
Death: Dec. 29, 2012

Martha Helen Pender, 85, died Saturday, December 29, 2012 in Abilene.

Martha was born on November 8, 1927 in Abilene, Texas. She graduated from Abilene High School and initially attended Hardin-Simmons University before transferring to North Texas State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance.

She developed her vocal talents and became an accomplished opera singer. She lived in Rome, Italy for over seventeen (17) years and performed in operas in Rome, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Bremen, Bologna, Palermo, Torino and Naples.

Her most important opera performance roles were in these operas: Aida, Norma, Tosca, and Macbeth.

Martha returned to Texas and taught vocal performance at Texas Tech University. She earned her Masters of Arts degree in music at The University of Texas at Austin. After returning to Abilene, Martha trained and developed many talented students with her voice and music school.

She was the founder of the Abilene Opera Association in 1981 and served as its President or Producer for 13 years. She performed with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Lubbock Symphony, and the San Antonio Symphony.

Martha was very passionate about her service on the Board of the Paramount Theater Preservation Association and was instrumental in two major programs - the Abilene Centennial in 1981and the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1986. Martha also enjoyed her friends and her work with the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.

She was a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church.

Martha was preceded in death by her father and mother, Herman A. "Hap" Pender and Mary Paxton Pender; her sisters, Joy Pender Kutik and Mildred Deaton Pender; and brother, Hal Arthur Pender.

Survivors include nephews David Deaton of Abilene; Mike Kutik of Kissimmee, Florida; Dr. Brad Pender, Columbia, South Carolina and Bob Pender, Round Rock, Texas and a niece, Carol Kutik of Palm Bay, Florida.

Committal services will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, January 11, 2013 at Elmwood Memorial Park. A memorial service will follow at 1:00 pm in the chapel of First Baptist Church with Dr. Phil Christopher officiating. Services are under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be given to the First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 85, Abilene, TX 79604, or to the charity of the donor's choice .

Online condolences may be posted at

Published in Abilene Reporter-News from January 10 to January 11, 2013 
Elmwood Memorial Park
Taylor County
Texas, USA
Created by: Kenneth D. Bogard
Record added: Jan 10, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103358488
Martha Helen Pender
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Richard and Mary
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- AAndrewsRF
 Added: Oct. 9, 2013

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