Martha Eileen Stephens, 53 better known as "Samantha or Marti", passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, March 30, 2013 at her home in Hanford, California.
Martha along with her identical twin sister, Marsha, was born to James William Stephens from Texas & Carmen Maria (Opazo) Stephens from Chile, on June 24, 1959 in Roswell, New Mexico, a stopping point before they headed to France.
Martha lived a rich and full life traveling all over the globe with her family spending the majority of her first 15 years of life outside the USA such as; Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay, Chile, France, Spain, Italy, Virgin Islands, Canary Islands, Northern Africa, and many other areas of the world as her father was a Geophysicist/Geologist and Observer for United Geophysical Company exploring oil in many countries.
The Stephens family moved in and out of the United States setting up temporary residences in 9 states and eventually settling in sunny California, where her father went into water well drilling in the San Joaquin Valley. Martha married and lived in Bristow, Oklahoma during that time. She loved to tell the story about how she and her sister Marsha announced their pregnancies over the phone and both sisters' babies were due on the same exact day! Martha gave birth to Angela and years later to Pamela Fisher. When Martha left Oklahoma and moved to California she met her second husband and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she went to cosmetology school and had a very successful business as a Nail Technician and during that time gave birth to her son, Jason Meno. She absolutely loved all her children very much and was looking forward to having a family reunion with them.
In 2000 Martha returned to California and moved to Hanford where she has an extended family from Chile. There she found the love of her life and married Rick Seniff, and she moved into his home on Porter Street in Hanford. Martha worked for the County of Kings, Planning Department for several years and after an amicable divorce, she remained close friends with Rick and later work with him at Butterkups.
Martha was an adventurous young woman, and when she saw an opportunity start a new and exciting life somewhere else, she wondered over to Monterey County where she met and married Bill Herred, her current husband.
Martha "Samantha" had an entrepreneur's heart and with her love of baking, she and her sister came up with the plan to start a cupcake bakery. The name was agreed upon after Marsha's idea of calling it Butterkups, which was a name she got from the movie "The Princess Bride". Martha thought that was appropriate as when both twins were growing up Martha was called "the Queen" by her parents and Marsha was called, "the Princess". After the agreed upon name, the bakery was on its way to becoming a reality, with the financial help from Marsha and Martha's baking skills, Butterkups Incredible Cupcakes became a huge success and Hanford had several years of the best cupcakes and cakes anywhere. Martha worked up to 120 hours a week providing the best baked goods for the people of Hanford. By "Samantha's" side, Rick Seniff did most of all the cake decorating. They attracted people from all over, even as far as New York... "Samantha's" magical and special touch was given to each individual event including the wedding cupcakes and cakes which she loved doing the most…..AND we cannot forget the Chilean Sweet Bread, a recipe that was handed down from generations and baked to perfection. She often bragged about the Hanford Policemen who stopped in with a smile each morning to enjoy a good cup of coffee and her sweet bread. "Samantha's" personality was as equally magnificent in that she always had something profound to share with those who needed to hear a voice of compassion and empathy. Her baking was a reflection of her dedication and love for others. She worked endless hours doing what she loved the most, baking and seeing people smile. The bakery had to close temporarily as there was a flood, but she still provided goodies through Tommy Lou's Restaurant. The restaurant was named after her beloved shitzu dogs; Tommy & Louie. Martha always made sure to provide a warm and friendly place for the people of Hanford to go and enjoy her mouthwatering food and deserts. Martha and Marsha were planning on re-opening Butterkups in Hanford this April and a location on Cannery Row in Monterey in June. It was Martha's goal to have enough resources to go on a speaking circuit for women as her deepest aspiration in life was to help empower every woman to achieve anything she wants in life. Martha had an abundance of knowledge she learned from studies and her own experiences, from her studies of the Lou Tice Method to the life transforming wisdom of the Law of Attraction. Her wish was for each person she had the privilege to know to watch The Secret by Rhonda Byrne as her desire was to see people achieve greatness and prosperity in their lives.
Martha and her twin, Marsha, also had a dream since they were children to put their stories of childhood travels in a book called, The Adventures of Marsha and Martha. They were to have an interactive website for children to share stories and pictures of their travel experiences. In memory of Martha's life, her twin sister Marsha will write and publish the book. Martha, "Samantha" lived by one greed: "Everything is possible, and nothing is impossible". Her zest for life was unmatched and her legacy will live on forever.
Martha "Samantha" with her strong spiritual faith, delightful disposition, and positive outlook on life made her a very special person. Her generous spirit for those in need and giving heart earned the love, respect, and admiration from all those who were fortunate to know her. She was gifted with an artist's hand, a healing touch, a comforting voice and a sense of humor that was fresh and delightful. Her love of life was contagious as well as her laughter and her need to entertain and make people happy is what filled her heart with joy.
Martha "Samantha" was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her loving twin sister; Marsha Taylor and her husband Mitch Taylor of Fresno & Carmel, her brother; James W. Stephens of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Martha's children; Angela Fisher & Pamela Ingram, her two grandchildren, Jacob David Ingram and Emmalene Clair Ingram all from Bristow, Oklahoma. Also her son, Jason Meno of Indianapolis, Indiana, her stepsons; Josh & Nickolas Meno and her nephews; Adam & Jonathan Pierce all originally from the San Joaquin Valley. She is also survived by her previous husband and closest friend; Rick Seniff of Hanford and her husband; William "Bill" Herred of Hanford, along with his children.
Martha, "Samantha" will also be truly missed by her beloved dogs; Tommy, Louie, Buster and Huck!
Samantha will be remembered for having a great sense of humor, a kind spirit, a powerful voice, a beautiful and big Heart. She will be greatly missed, we love you…
A Memorial Service & Celebration of Life will be held on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at People's Funeral Chapel; 501 N. Douty Street, Hanford, CA 93230 559-584-5591.