Mary Joanne Martin Alexander, 92, daughter of the late Warren and Mabel Norris Martin, passed peacefully into eternity with the Lord on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

Mary Jo was born on August 14, 1928, in Elmwood, N.C. and was the oldest daughter born into a farming family of seven children. She learned homemaking, cooking, and gardening skills early in life as well as a strong Presbyterian faith.

When she moved to Statesville after graduating from high school, Mary Jo worked at Fraley’s grocery store. Room and board were provided by Mr. and Mrs. James Carl Alexander, and there she met the love of her life, their son, Watt Alexander, while he was a student at N.C. State. As discovered in old, saved letters, one could feel the deep love that was formed during this time and they married on May 5, 1948.

Mary Jo worked outside of the home most of her life in various jobs, always earnest in doing her very best, yet she never failed to prepare delicious home-cooked meals every evening for her family and on Sundays after church. She was proud of her work as a bookkeeper at Statesville Chair Company and part-owner, with Watt, of Landfinders Real Estate. Perhaps the job she enjoyed most, though, was working with the “ladies” at the credit union before she retired.

She was an avid gardener of vegetables and flowers, and joyfully shared her love of nature if one simply walked with her in the woods or on the beach. She shared her love of Christ with Sunday School children for 50 years at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, also serving as a Deacon.

Upon retirement, she enjoyed volunteering to help children read at East Iredell Elementary. Seemingly tireless, Mary Jo cared, served, and labored on behalf of her family, church, and in all endeavors without complaint or want of recognition. Famous for her chocolate pound cake, cheesecake, and homemade fudge, she loved sharing these with co-workers and at family gatherings.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 49 years, Watt Alexander; her parents; her son, Carl Mason Alexander; and two brothers, Jim Martin and George Martin. She is survived by her children, Glenda Helms (Steve), Carol Hamilton, and Susan Cox (Jay); and her daughter-in-law, Teresa Alexander. She has nine grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren, all of whom call her “Nanny.” She is also survived by her brothers, William Martin and John Martin; and her sisters, Lucille Caviness and Carol Windsor.

Mary Jo’s body will lay in rest at Nicholson Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at First ARP Church, 123 Broad Street, in downtown Statesville on Saturday, October 3, 2020, at 11 a.m. A graveside service will be private. The family will receive friends from 10 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the service. Due to COVID-19, for the protection of all, the family asks that friends wear masks, restrain from shaking hands, and observe social distancing while visiting and inside of the church.

Remembrances may be given to the First ARP Church, 123 Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28677 or Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County, 2347 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625. Fond memories and condolences may be left at

The Alexander family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff of Summit Place of Mooresville for their devoted care for their sweet “Jo” or “Jo-Jo.”

Mary Jo’s spirit will live on forever in the hearts of all those who knew and loved her.

Nicholson Funeral Home is serving the family.

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