Jean Elizabeth Thompson Martin

Published 12:17pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jean Elizabeth Thompson Martin, 89, died Monday, March 11, 2013 in a local hospital following a brief illness. Mrs. Martin was born in Selma, September 9, 1923. She attended Dallas Academy and she was a graduate of Albert G. Parrish High School. Her early years were spent in the company of her beloved younger sisters, Virginia and Pat and her dearest lifelong friends Laena Talmadge Emmerick and June Eagle Cohn.  Mrs. Cohn fondly recalls many happy times filled with parties, dances and riding around in Mrs. Cohn’s car.

Jean Elizabeth Thompson met Philip David Martin at Craig Field Air Force Base while he served with the Army Air Corps. They married in 1944 and lived many places at home and abroad including Japan and Mr. Martin’s home state of Wisconsin. Upon returning to Selma, Mrs. Martin began working at Craig Field in accounting, finance and also personnel. She remained employed with Craig Field until the base closure. Shortly after the closing of the base, she began working as the Community Editor for The Selma Times-Journal. She often travelled to surrounding counties covering stories in Perry and Wilcox counties and other areas writing about as diverse as the local quilters and transportation issues She wrote for the newspaper for the rest of her life. She was a founding board member of Old Depot Museum and served as the Museum Curator for many, many years.

As a two time cancer survivor, Mrs. Martin shared her personal experiences and by writing extensively to educate countless others about early detection and prevention for breast cancer and uterine cancer. She was also a tireless advocate for mental health, domestic violence, education and the protection of children.

Mrs. Martin also served as the Ward 3 Selma City Councilwoman from 1996 until 2008, she also served as the council’s president pro tem. Mrs. Martin was a founding member of Cahawba Concern; an active member and officer of the Selma-Dallas County Historic Preservation Society; Pilgrimage Chairperson; a board member of the Cahaba Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation; on the state advisory board for the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel and served on various advisory committees for the Alabama Historical Commission.

Many of Mrs. Martin’s personal and professional goals were centered on the promotion, preservation, the sharing of the history and any activity featuring her beloved Selma. Her love of Selma was reflected through her service, through her writings and most of all through her heart.

Mrs. Martin was predeceased by her husband, Philip David Martin; her parents Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Thompson and her sisters, Virginia Thompson Dyke and Pat Thompson Tiller.

She survived by her children, Ralph Russell Martin; David A. Martin (Lori) and Lisa M. Ingram (Mark) and her grandsons, Alec Martin, Nick Martin and John Martin (Jenna) and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family requests in lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Old Depot Museum, P.O. Box 1392, Selma AL 36702.

One of Mrs. Martin’s favorite poems was Crossing the Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the final two stanzas have been included:

Twilight and evening bell

and after that the dark

and may there be no sadness of farewell

when I embark,

For tho’ from out our bourne of time and place,

the flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

when I have crossed the bar

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2013, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Selma  with The Rev. David Powell and The Rev. Betsy Powell officiating. Visitation will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the St. Paul’s Parrish Hall, the Memorial Service will follow in the church at 2:00 p.m.

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