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Martha Jane McCaskill
September 16, 1930 - October 16, 2010
Martha Jane McCaskill was recently honored following her death on October 16, 2010, as the first librarian of the Hong Kong International School with an engraved plaque, which will be prominently displayed in a glass display case being constructed at the entrance of the High School library. Born on September 16, 1930 in Paris, Texas, she received her Degree in Library Science from East Texas State Teachers College in August 1950. Martha served as Librarian in the Bridgewater-Raritan, New Jersey School District, prior to moving to Hong Kong in 1965 when her husband, Don was assigned to Hong Kong as one of four employees from the IBM World Trade Headquarters in New York City to establish the IBM World Trade South East Asia Regional Headquarters in Hong Kong.
At that time, there was no international school in Hong Kong, and the children of the few expatriates living there went to The Maryknoll Sisters Missionary School on the island of Hong Kong or King George V School in Kowloon.
In addition to loaning the school their initial set of World Book Encyclopedias which she had shipped to Hong Kong along with other personal items, Martha volunteered to order and catalogue all of the start up school’s library books the ‘old fashioned way’ by hand printing all of the index cards with titles and Dewey Decimal System codes, as well as lettering the codes on each catalogued book. All three McCaskill children attended HKIS. Their eldest daughter, Christy, still remembers going from Maryknoll each day after school before HKIS opened to assist her mother with this monumental undertaking and shelving the newly acquired books. Christy was recognized not only as an outstanding student at HKIS at the end of her Junior year before returning with the family to New York, but also for assisting her mother with the establishment of the library. Today, four HKIS campus libraries serve our students from state-of-the art technology literary centers with over 110,000 books from a humble beginning made possible by Martha.
Following retirement from IBM in 1985, the McCaskills returned home to Paris, Texas to live on Strawbaby Farm after living, working and traveling around the world for 35 years. Martha McCaskill is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Paris, Texas and Don continues to reside at Strawbaby Farm. This memorial for Mrs. McCaskill was donated by Joyce and Reid Samuelson. Joyce (Todd) Samuelson ’71 was a classmate of the McCaskill children at HKIS and their families remain close friends.
Martha is survived by her husband Donald McCaskill; daughters, Christy (McCaskill) Wendell ’69 – class agent for the class of '69 and Sally (McCaskill) Stein ’70; son, Dean Morgan McCaskill ’76.
Source: DragonTales Summer Edition 2011