Bench placed downtown in honor of late Seymour woman

Martha McIntire poured 29 years of pure heart and soul into the Seymour Oktoberfest.

It would not be what it is today without her, according to a recent post on the festival’s Facebook page.

The post also included a photo of several of McIntire’s family members standing behind a new bench in downtown Seymour near Second and Chestnut streets.

During her tenure with the festival committee, McIntire could be found in the information booth in the middle of that intersection as people filled the downtown streets for the three-day festival on the first weekend of October.

On Dec. 31, 2021, McIntire died at Lutheran Community Home in Seymour. She was 82.

The festival committee led the effort for the memorial bench with the help of Crane Hill Machine & Fabrication Inc., Seymour Department of Public Works and The Engraver. “Marth McIntire” and “29 years of service” arch across the top of the bench above the Seymour Oktoberfest logo.

“Thank you to Martha’s family, for the picture around it and sharing her with us all those years,” the festival’s Facebook post says. “She really was such a special person, and we will never forget her or the work she did.”

Two of McIntire’s daughters, Jeanne Nichols and Linda Moore, were there when the photo was taken with the bench.

“I was very honored and excited to have this bench put downtown in Mom’s memory,” said Nichols, her eldest daughter. “I feel she really loved the town of Seymour and knew a lot of the history and did a lot for the town. She was involved in many committees and projects to better Seymour throughout her life.”

She said her mother would feel honored to have this bench in her memory, but McIntire would probably say she really didn’t deserve it.

“She was not one to brag on her accomplishments,” Nichols said. “I am thankful to the Oktoberfest committee for choosing to honor her with this bench.”

Moore said she was totally surprised and didn’t know about the bench before it was placed downtown.

“What an honor,” Moore said. “I know that Mom would be thrilled, although she never expected or wanted to be recognized. She always did so many things around the community simply because she loved Seymour. This bench is very special to me because it represents how dedicated she was to the Oktoberfest and how hard she worked on that committee.”

McIntire served on many committees and boards through the years, Moore said.

“It was important to her to do her part to make Seymour better. She never waited for others to do the work. She just followed her heart and did her best,” Moore said. “This bench means so much to me. Just to know that others appreciated my mom enough to acknowledge her memory with this bench is very meaningful.”

Martha was born in 1939 in nearby Hayden just over the Jennings County line and had lived in Seymour since 1942, graduating from Shields High School in 1957. She married William McIntire in 1958 at First Baptist Church, and he preceded her in death in 1998.

McIntire first became involved with the Oktoberfest in 1985 while working as then-Mayor Bill Bailey’s secretary. She already was familiar with the festival in some ways, as her daughter, Linda, was named the first Oktoberfest princess in 1973.

McIntire was festival chairwoman for eight years. During her tenure, she said the committee made great improvements, from redoing all of the underground electrical wiring and hookups to providing new stages and bleachers for entertainment and a new shuttle to transport guests from the high school parking lot to the festival.

In 2015, McIntire and Kathy Mead were presented the Hoosier Hospitality Award from Indiana Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann for their work with the Oktoberfest. They both retired from the board after the 2014 festival, combining for 56 years of service. The state award is presented to those whose have provided a high level of service in tourism-related jobs at hotels, restaurants, attractions and other destinations.

Also in 2015, McIntire, Mead and Bob Doriot served as the Oktoberfest parade grand marshals. They all retired from their officer positions the year before and combined for 80 years of service.

McIntire retired from the city as director of community development. During her tenure, she helped organize the Recycle to Ride public transportation service.

Besides being the administrative assistant to several city mayors and serving on the Oktoberfest committee, McIntire was a Jackson County Visitor Center board member for 20 years and a Seymour Community School Corp. board member for 20 years.

She also was a member of First Baptist Church for more than 50 years and a member of the Friends in Christ Club, served as president of the Emerson Elementary School parent-teacher association, played and coached girls softball and helped organize Little League for girls in Seymour.

Plus, she was a graduate of Leadership Jackson County and was a member of Seymour Main Street, Southern Indiana Center for the Arts, Friends of the Jackson County Public Library and the Friends and Neighbors Extension Homemakers Club.

Along with the Hoosier Hospitality Award, McIntire was a recipient of the Citizen of the Year award in 2003 by the Seymour Chamber of Commerce and the Sons of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Medal.

Besides working for the city, McIntire was a former secretary at Cummins and Arvin and worked as a tutor and library aide at Seymour High School. She knew a lot about the city and shared that knowledge during history talks, too.