Lynette Claridge was born on August 19, 1966, in Houston, Texas. She is the youngest of four sisters. Her father worked as a foreman in corporate 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. At that time, 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. He and his wife invited them to their home nearly every evening for meals and offered their mother a part-time job at the church to make ends meet.
Although she came from modest means, Lynette was determined to be the first in her family to attend college. Her passion for nursing developed early on as she helped take care of her father, who suffered from chronic pain 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. 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 shifts coincided with her own. They began dating and married in 1992. Instead of a honeymoon, the couple embarked on a two-year mission trip to South America.
In 1995, they moved to Oxford, where Wendell became pastor of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Church, and Lynette worked as a nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital. She and Wendell had two teenage sons: a 16-year-old named David and an 18-year-old named Emanuel.
Like her husband, Lynette dedicated her life to serving the Oxford community and was an active participant in the Holy Spirit Church, volunteering for local charities and hosting bible study groups at her home. She also enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing bridge with other women from the church.
Since her husband's shocking murder, Lynette has cut back on her church and community activities. She also retired from her position at the hospital. She took a part-time job at the Yoknapatawpha Acres Nursing Home so she could spend more time with her sons as they all struggle through the grieving process.
On January 9, 2020, Lynette found the body of her co-worker Jerry Shaw in the delivery area behind the nursing home.