Wanda Dean (Helphenstine) Martin was born December 21, 1940. It was a momentous day for her parents—Harry and Iola Helphenstine—as it was their oldest daughter, Helen’s, wedding day. Because there was much to be done in caring for the children, it often became the responsibility of an older sister, Opal, to help with their care. Opal was less than excited to lose Helen’s help with her younger siblings and the idea of another child certainly was not a welcome one. Opal, however, would come to play a major role in the Christian influence and eventual salvation of several family members.
Preceding Wanda in death were her parents and her ten siblings. Her father, Harry, met an untimely death at the age of fifty-four. Her mother, Iola (Doyle), passed away in 1966 at the age of sixty-eight from cancer. Two of Wanda’s siblings died in infancy—James at two years old and Corrine, stillborn. Her remaining four sisters and four brothers predeceased her: Helen, Loretta, Opal, Betty Ann, Jess, Thomas, Charles, and Leo.
After the death of her father, the two youngest girls, Betty Ann and Wanda, moved in with Opal, who was not married and was willing to assume their care. Her mother, Iola, was a wonderful cook and worked long hours but was not able to adequately care for them. Wanda’s future was forever impacted by Opal’s life of faith, including her practice of tithing 90 percent of her income and living on 10 percent.
Opal had been saved in a revival meeting at the age of sixteen and had followed the leading of God into a life of holiness. She established a mission outreach in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, and preached revivals meetings in Kentucky and surrounding states. As a result of her ministry, Wanda and several other siblings accepted Christ.
In the late 1950s Wanda met a nice, quiet, earnest-hearted young man named William Harold Martin, of Bath County, Kentucky. They first met at a revival meeting, where Opal was preaching, and Wanda was singing. They were married on January 9, 1959, during Wanda’s senior year of high school.
In 1974 Harold and Wanda felt led to move to Hobe Sound, Florida, to put their seven-year-old daughter, Carla, in first grade at Hobe Sound Bible Academy. Their son, Harold Dean, was born a year later. While living in Hobe Sound, Wanda worked for Hobe Sound Ministries. Her husband, Harold, worked at Scotties, a lumber supply company, and eventually left to work as a painting contractor. He has provided faithfully for his family and continues to be a blessing to his children, friends, and family.
During Wanda’s nearly fifty years residing in Hobe Sound, she served in many different ministry capacities, including caring for international students attending Hobe Sound Bible College and working in prison ministry at the Belle Glade and Martin County Correctional Facilities, where for nearly a decade she served as a secretary in the chaplain’s office. She could nearly always daily be found at the 5 a.m. prayer meeting at her church, Hobe Sound Bible Church, and enjoyed writing a daily inspirational post on her Facebook page. Many lives have been touched by Wanda’s love for the Lord and her consistent faithful life of service.
Wanda leaves behind her loving husband of sixty-three years, Harold; a daughter, Carla (Martin) Case, of Hobe Sound, and her husband Phil; her son, Harold Dean, also of Hobe Sound, and his wife Kayla; eight grandchildren: Danielle and husband Sean, Kelly, Phillip, and Andrea Case, Ethan and fiancée, Lauren Hamilton, Collin, Landon, and Dylan Martin; and two great-grandchildren, Evan and Bella Adams. She is also survived by her “adopted” grandchildren, Stephen and Paul Kuo, and Ruth Choi.
On March 31, 2022, around 9:30 a.m. she made her grand entrance into heaven. She is now enjoying her new home and has traded sickness and suffering for the reality of God’s presence.
Wanda will be laid to rest in the Fleming County Cemetery where a service will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, April 15, 2022, with Rev. Rodney Loper officiating.
Wanda and her family are being cared for locally by Boone-Nickell Funeral Home.
Friends may offer online condolences at www.boonenickellfuneralhome.com
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