Lynette Claridge was born on August 19, 1966, in Houston, Texas and is the youngest of four sisters. Her father worked as a foreman in commercial construction until his retirement in 2004, while her mother stayed home to take care of the family.
Coming from devoutly Christian parents, Lynette has attended church every Sunday for as long as she can remember. Although the seeds were planted early on, Lynette did not fully come into her faith until she was 10 years old, when her father was forced to take a leave of absence from work to undergo back surgery.
Burdened with hospital bills and no income, Lynette’s family was on the verge of sinking into poverty. Around this time, the youth pastor at their local church took Lynette and her sisters under his wing, inviting them to his home nearly every evening for meals and offering their mother a part-time job at the church to make ends meet. Through her youth pastor, Lynette learned her first and most important lesson of what it meant to do God’s work.
Although she came from modest means, Lynette was determined to be the first in her family to attend college. Her passion for nursing developed in childhood as she frequently helped take care of her father, who suffered from chronic pain issues due to the physically demanding nature of his work.
In high school, Lynette distinguished herself in both academics and extracurriculars, hard work that earned her a full-ride college scholarship. From 1985 to 1989, she attended the University of Texas School of Health Sciences, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
During her junior year summer rotation at a local hospital, Lynette met Wendell Martinson, a volunteer and aspiring medical school student whose hospital shifts coincided with her own. Shortly after they met, Lynette and Wendell began dating, a steady courtship that withstood Wendell’s sudden career change from medicine to clergy, as well as a three-year separation while Lynette worked in Houston and Wendell attended seminary school in Fort Worth.
In 1992, the couple reunited, married, and embarked on a two-year mission trip to South America. Lynette and Wendell made a powerful team, sharing Christian faith and medical aid alike to change and save hundreds of lives. They moved to Yoknapatawpha County in 1995, after Wendell accepted a pastor position at the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Church.
Lynette is currently a nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital, a post she has held faithfully for the past 24 years. She and Wendell have two teenage sons: 15-year-old David and 17-year-old Emanuel.
Like her husband, Lynette has dedicated her life to serving the Yoknapatawpha County community. She is an active participant in the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Church Committee and its affiliations, having founded the Youth Outreach Program and several food pantries throughout the town.
When Lynette is not volunteering or hosting bible study groups at her home, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing bridge with other women from the church.