tribune staff writer
Thelma Martin, a retired Internal Revenue Service employee, died on Saturday, July 27, 2019. She was 98.
She was born on Nov. 17, 1920 in Larmar County, Georgia to the late Fred and Essie Whatley. She was raised in the Methodist faith. She was raised in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated from Washington High School and attended Spelman College. In later years, she continued her college education at Wayne State University on Detroit, Michigan.
She spent most of her adult life in Detroit and Belleville, Michigan where she met and married the late Riley “Marty” Martin, her husband of more than 42 years. She worked for the IRS in Detroit, where she retired after more than 33 years of service.
She and her husband were a team and did many things together. They lived in a trailer on several acres of land that they bought in Belleville, Michigan, while they built a brick home with the help of subcontractors. They had dual memberships in two churches, Peoples Community Church in Detroit and Mt. Pleasant AME Church in Belleville. They couple often sang duets and solos on the church choirs. Her husband died in 1999.
Martin loved to play bridge and travel. She traveled throughout the U.S., participating in bridge tournaments where she won many trophies. She traveled to places including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Canada, France and Africa.
Martin moved to Philadelphia in 2003. In 2004, she moved into the Simpson House, where she enjoyed many activities. She enjoyed the Sunday chapel services. Martin joined the chapel choir, where she was often asked to sing a solo during the services. She also joined the Camphor Memorial Methodist Church in 2004 under the Rev. Roger Reddick. At Camphor, the members enjoyed her “melodious voice” and she was a member of the United Methodist Women Missionary Chapter.
Martin continued to play bridge at Simpson House. After dinner each evening, she and her friends went to her apartment to play bridge.
She was preceded in death by her husband; son, Mickens who died in infancy; a sister who died in infancy; brother, Rufus Whatley; sister, Jamie Trammell; stepsons, Theodore Martin and Riley Martin and stepdaughter, Christine Martin McDuffie.
She is survived by: her cousins/caregivers, Brenda (James) Smith and Lynelle (Bob) Hairston; cousins, Janet Chaffin, Diane Martin Richardson, Cheryl Trammell Jenkins, Vicki Trammell Thomas, Mattie S. Walker, Gloria (Michael) Johnson, Shirley Sharpe, Alice (Alan) Seifullah, Ruby Watkins, James (Margie) Sanders, Charles (Tym) Sanders, Gail Goodman and Barbara White Cook and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. at Camphor United Methodist Church, 5620 Wyalusing Ave.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.