Thelma E. Martin, community leader in Martins Creek, 1917-2020
Thelma Elkins Martin of the Martins Creek community of Cherokee County, N.C. died Thursday morning, Oct. 9, at Murphy Rehabilitation and Nursing Home. She was 102.
A graveside service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at New Martins Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. The closed coffin, surrounded by some of her dozens of oil paintings, will lie in state in the church from 2 to 3 p.m. before the graveside service. The family asks that friends and relatives paying their respects wear a mask and practice social distancing as they sign a guest book.
Revs. Aud Brown and Mark Alexander will officiate at the graveside. Pallbearers are Chad Cook, Travis Chastain, Phillip Chastain, Lamar Chastain, John Goins and Chris Payne.
Mrs. Martin was a homemaker, secretary of the Martins Creek Community Club, painting artist late in life, beloved ladies’ Sunday School teacher and the oldest living member of New Martins Creek Baptist Church.
She was an avid reader who loved to travel and spend time with her girls, and to watch Braves baseball.
Thelma Elkins was born Dec. 8, 1917 in Cherokee County. Part of her childhood was spent living with nearby relatives.
She and A.J. Martin (1910-2006) grew up miles apart in southwest Cherokee County. One day they met in church “and he walked me home,” she recalled. They were married Oct. 28, 1940, he at 29, she at 23.
Mrs. Martin was president of the County Council, a program of Home Demonstration of the Extension Service. The Martins also were volunteers for a successful fund drive to help build an addition to Murphy Medical Center.
As Martins Creek Community Club secretary, Mrs. Martin contacted every local organization to help them make reports for “a team that came here from Raleigh (state government) to judge us,” she recalled. “The businesses and churches had to make reports, too.” As scrapbook chairperson, she clipped the Cherokee Scout coverage.
NOT JUST LIGHT READING
Mrs. Martin’s preference may well have been that her two daughters stay close around her. Yet what would be their keen desires to expand their knowledge was reflected in her very own. This was evident in a glass bookcase in the center hallway of her Martins Creek home.
Their home library held Bibles, daily devotional guides, hymnbooks, Sunday School quarterlies, poetry and fiction, and also non-fiction bestseller favorites showing a taste for more than just light reading.
ROCKING CHAIR ON A CABIN PORCH
A painting class at Tri-County College later in her life filled Mrs. Martin’s hours. Her works are on the walls of Martins Creek homes, Martins Creek Elementary School, and scattered around the South and beyond with friends and relatives.
Her rendering of a rocking chair on a rural porch is a family favorite.
Surviving are her daughters, Mrs. Lorraine Bennett (Tom) of Martins Creek and Mrs. Marilee Powell (Terrence) of Clay County; and a granddaughter, Mrs. Jessica Powell Armstrong (Eric) of Cornelia, Ga., several nieces and nephews, and special friend and caregiver Josie Brown.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Martins Creek Community Club, sent in care of Nina Chastain, secretary-treasurer, 582 Chastain Road, Murphy NC 28906, or the charity of your choice.
Townson-Rose Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.
You may send tributes to the family at www.townson-rose.com