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A life purposed for service began in Chatham County when Willie Marsh and Mannie Alston Marsh were blessed with the birth of a daughter, Martha, on February 12, 1927. Mrs. Martha Flora “Upchurch” Marsh Brewer was affectionately known to her grandchildren as “Honey.” She was the youngest of fifteen children who all preceded her in death. They were: Anna Marsh Scarborough, Roosevelt Marsh, Leon Wesley Marsh, Alphonzo Marsh, Willie Marsh, Kelso Marsh, Pauline Theresa Marsh, Eula Zenobia Marsh, Mary Louise Marsh Reed, Fred Thomas Marsh, Fannie Marie Marsh Siler, Sarah Elizabeth Marsh Jones, and two infants who died shortly after birth. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Major Brewer, and two daughters, Deadra Delphine Brewer Dorsette and Jeanette Lorraine Brewer Blackwell.
Martha’s love for watching the construction of Corinth A.M.E. Zion church was partly what drew her to Christ. She was amazed at the beauty of the bricks and the floor and how wonderful everything looked once it all came together, as God would have it. Under the teaching of Reverend L. R. Williams, she came to realize that she was the church and not that beautiful building. She attended Corinth A.M.E. Zion Church all of her life and held positions as Teen Sunday School Teacher, Usher Board member, Trustee Board member and Stewardess Board member. She was also a member of the American Legion organization and the local Widows Club.
Martha was educated in the former Chatham County Training School and graduated in the class of 1944. She was employed by Chatham County Schools and worked in Food Services from the time her youngest child started first grade in 1956 until 1964, at which time she was employed by Kellwood Company until her retirement over 20 years later.
Martha enjoyed gardening, as evidenced by the enormous collard patch that she grew each year until her health declined. Once he saw that she was no longer able to care for a garden, her Son-In-Law, Russell Blackwell, took over the project each year. He always received instructions from her as to what kind of seeds to mix with what kind of fertilizer to use before sowing. For over 40 years she had a spectacular stand of collards for the public to enjoy.
Before becoming a resident at Genesis Siler City Center, talking on the phone was her favorite pastime along with watching The Antique Road Show on PBS. She also enjoyed sitting on her front porch watching the traffic pass and talking to her next-door neighbors, Isaac and Beverly Farris, and their children and grandchildren.
Martha spent the last seven and a half years of her life as a resident at Genesis Siler City Center. There she enjoyed playing BINGO and winning prizes and participating in the many other activities offered by the center. She also enjoyed the visits, flowers, occasion cards, and phone calls from her family and friends.
Her memory will be indelibly etched in the hearts of her daughter Susan Paulette Brewer-Hadley (Edward), her Son-In-Law Russell Lee Blackwell, her four grandchildren Roberta Paulette Hadley, Russell Lemont Blackwell, Jonathan Marshall Blackwell (Sonya), and Christina Delphine Dorsette, her two great grandchildren Jonathan Blackwell and Samuel Alejandro Blackwell, her four nieces Marsha Siler Woody (Michael) of Deptford, New Jersey, Linda Jones Parks of Washington, DC, Mikki Jones-Abdullateef of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Priscilla Jones Killette (Gary) of Bowie, Maryland, one nephew William Siler of Palmdale, California, one great nephew Cory Simmons of Brooklyn, New York, three great nieces, Jennifer Woody of Deptford, New Jersey, Jacqueline Woody of Deptford, New Jersey, N’Jeri Simmons (Anthony) of Las Vegas, Nevada, and numerous cousins.