Longtime Soldotna and former Canton, Georgia resident, Mrs. Martha Jo Sandifer/ Mathis Bennett, 85, died Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at Heritage Place in Soldotna. Memorial services will be held 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013 at The First Baptist Church, 159 S Binkley St. in Soldotna. Pastor Doug Burrows will be officiating. Mrs. Bennett was born January 31, 1928 in Crystal Springs, MS. She received her master’s degree in Education from North Georgia College. From 1960 to 1962 Martha Jo worked as a teacher in Jackson, MS and Laurel, MS. In 1962 she worked as a teacher in Cassville, GA and Freehome, GA until she retired in 1989 when she moved to Alaska where she lived in Anchorage until 2001, then moved to Soldotna. Martha Jo was a member of First Baptist Church, Soldotna. She loved quilting, crossword puzzles, gardening and singing. The family wrote, “She was her children’s inspiration by her love of God and her work ethic. She was loved and was always a no-nonsense, yet fun-loving lady. She was fiercely protective and loyal to those she loved. If there was a canasta game, she was always ready to play. She had an infectious laugh and loved giving and receiving hugs.” She was preceded in death by her son, W. Stennett Mathis. She is survived by her husband, Frederick Bennett of Soldotna; daughter, Stephanie Lowdermilk and her husband, Sam of Anchorage; sons, Stephen Mathis and his wife, Carrie of Walnut Grove, MO and Stuart Mathis and his wife, Mary of Denver, CO, step-daughter, Janet Glorioso and her husband, Lester of Olympia, WA; grandchildren, Kirsten, Michael, Christopher, Christina Gayle, Justin, Christina Marie, Lynne, Sergio, Beatriz, Adrianne, Phillip, Aaron, Kara, Jason, Sean, Madison, Keaton and numerous great-grandchildren.