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Martha Ann Waugh was born February 28th of the year 1962 in Des Moines, Iowa to parents Denzil and Socorro Waugh. She joined her parents and big brother, Eugene Waugh, at the family’s country home in Redding, Iowa. Martha spent her early childhood like most Midwestern children do: running around the family farm and surrounding farms with various neighborhood kids, and trailing family friend Virgil Findley as he carried on various farm duties. When she wasn’t carrying on with her friends on different acreages, Martha attended school at what would later be consolidated with Mount Ayr Community Schools for her K-12th grade education.
In high school, Martha was involved in many creative endeavors such as Band, Choir, and Drill team. She began her journey in healthcare as a candy stripper at Ringgold County Hospital, and later became a nurse’s aide until she graduated her senior year, sparking her lifelong love of medicine. During her high school years Martha also met another, greater love: her high school sweetheart and future husband, Brent.
After high school, Martha joined the pre-med program at University of Iowa while maintaining a full-time job at the university’s affiliated hospital, University of Iowa Hospital, on a neurosurgery floor. Martha changed career tracks after two years in the program, following her mother’s footsteps and choosing instead to attend the nursing program at Mercy College of Nursing in Des Moines, Iowa. With only one semester left of the program, an emergency appendectomy and a strict attendance policy in place by the school, Martha was faced with having to extend her pursuance of her nursing license by another year.
After dating five years, on August 3rd, 1985 Martha married her high school sweetheart, Brent, at the Methodist Church in Mount Ayr, Iowa. They began their wedded journey with a move to Omaha, Nebraska to enable Brent to attend trade school, while Martha took a short break from health care to work for an insurance company. Once Brent graduated from his schooling, the couple moved to Phoenix, Arizona where Martha picked up her pursuit of her nursing license at Arizona State University. Yet another emergency appendectomy (Brent’s this time) caused Martha to pause her schooling to become the primary bread winner while Brent was out of commission. Martha was able to continue her schooling at Glendale Community College while working as a waitress when Brent became co-owner of Abaris Commercial Refrigeration, Heating, and Cooling.
Finally, after a few false starts, Martha graduated school as a Registered Nurse in the summer of 1990 and began her long and awe-inspiring nursing career. Starting off with a bang, her first nursing job was a challenging yet rewarding stint in the Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. She then moved on to work at a Level 1 Trauma emergency department at John C. Lincoln Hospital.
Four years after graduating college, Martha and Brent welcomed their first child into the world the beginning of 1994. Daughter Jessie Nicole was joined three years (technically, two years and ten months) later by twin brothers, Jake Edward and Joseph Lee. Their three children completed Martha and Brent’s family and filled their lives with much joy and many happy times.
In August of 1997, Martha and Brent returned with their beautiful family to the town they grew up in, wanting their children to experience the same sense of family and community they loved and missed in Arizona. Back in Mount Ayr, Martha began again as a nurse at Ringgold County Hospital, where she remained for the rest of her nursing career. In total, she dedicated 20 years of service to RCH, taking it upon herself to obtain many different certifications out of her own pocket to ensure that the community she so loved had access to more specialized care than previously available at the rural hospital. She worked in the surgery department tirelessly, taking care of anyone who needed to see the hospital’s general surgeon or outpatient services available at RCH. She touched countless people’s lives through her care and nurturing nature, whether by providing her nursing expertise or with just a simple, warm conversation that Martha was so well known for.
Anyone who knew Martha was well aware that her three children were her life and she was very involved in the many activities they were a part of, such as Jessie’s Choir, Band, and drama performances, and the various sporting events in which the twins excelled. She took such pride in her children and their many accomplishments, loving them unconditionally through their rises and falls of their youth. She loved her children more than anything. Her truest advice to them and advice she took herself throughout her entire life was to never give up, no matter how often you fail or what route you take to achieve your dreams, never quit.
Everyone in the community has a Martha story: how she took care of them at the hospital, how her often lengthy and thoughtful conversations (Martha did not do short interactions) impacted their lives, or deeds done for those in need. Martha was a selfless, giving, and genuinely kind person who maintained the kind of integrity and genuine caring and loving nature that everyone strives to have. A better role model and harder worker you’d be pressed to find in this world. She was an amazing mother and wonderful wife and life partner to her husband Brent, whom she loved deeply, truly, and faithfully.
After three different and valiantly fought battles with cancer, a final relapse ended her fight. Martha’s soul departed this world on November 14, 2017, surrounded by her beloved family at the hospital she devoted two decades of her life to. She is proceeded in death by grandparents Clyde and Clara Belle Waugh, grandmother Maria Ramirez, and parents Denzil and Socorro Waugh.
Left to cherish her memories and maintain her legacy are her husband Brent Ricker, children Jessie, Jake, and Joe Ricker, brother Eugene (Linda) Waugh, parents-in-law Bob and Lucy Ricker, brothers-in-law Bobby (Pam) Ricker, Bruce (Michelle) Ricker, nieces and nephews Dana (Matt) Churchill, Jaren (Randi) Ricker, Blake Ricker, Lindsay Ricker, great nieces and nephews Jackson, Evelyn, William, and Hudson, and many friends, coworkers, and members of the community. A memorial fund has been established in her name to be decided later. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.
Services were held on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Officiating was Pastor Bill Armstrong. Music by Ginny Eighmy and John Allen. Songs were “Faithfully” (CD), “The Old Rugged Cross” (John Allen), and “Candle in The Wind” (CD).
Casketbearers were Bill Lynch, Steve Knapp, Jeff Quick, Greg Rhodes, Ted Smith and Randy Gregg.
Honorary pallbearers were Connor Giles, Erik Freed, Zach Vanderflught, Jake Still, Tyler Triggs, John Triggs, Zane Sickels, Susan Eason, Sue Larsen, Kris Spurrier, Mary Eason, and Sharene England Culp.
Nurses Honor Guard were Mary Baker, Melissa Irving, Tim Boswell, Amanda Bollinger, Tiffany Boles, Christine Doubleday, Deb Robertson, Kriss Spurrier, Janice Nurnberg, and Becky Fletchall.
She was laid to rest at Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, Iowa.

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