TARBORO — Martha Helen Lewis Martin, 55, died on Friday, April 5, 2013 after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. She was born in Rocky Mount on Dec. 5, 1957 to Ray Stanley Lewis and Betty Lanier Lewis.
Martha grew up in the West Edgecombe community, where she graduated from West Edgecombe High School in 1976. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Meredith College in 1980, her Masters of Arts degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University in 1983, and special certification in Educational Administration and Supervision from East Carolina University in 1985. Martha spent seven years teaching in North Carolina and Virginia before serving as assistant principal for nine years at East End Elementary School, Williamston Primary School, and E.J. Hayes Elementary School in Martin County. She went on to serve as principal at Stantonsburg Elementary School and Vinson-Bynum Elementary School in Wilson County before ending her career at Lockhart Elementary School in Knightdale. She was honored to have been selected twice as the Principal of the Year in Wilson County in 1999 and 2002. Martha believed strongly in the value of a good education and was known by many as one of the finest principals in eastern North Carolina. Her legacy will endure in the lives of the hundreds of teachers and thousands of students who were fortunate enough to have learned under her tutelage. Martha is the proud mother of Drew Martin of Charlotte, Meagan Martin of Chapel Hill, and Tyler Martin of Wilmington, who she leaves to forever cherish her memory. She is also survived by her parents, Ray and Betty Lewis; her sisters and brothers-in-law, Kathy and Donald Boswell and Lori and Ron Day; her brothers and sisters-in-law, Pender and Becky Lewis and Tim and Lisa Lewis; a host of nieces and nephews; and Mary Margaret Smith, Drew's longtime girlfriend. Martha and her family will be ever grateful for the exceptional care that she received at the North Carolina Women's Hospital and the Service League of Greenville Inpatient Hospice during her illness and final days. A service in celebration of her life was held on Sunday, April 7 at West Edgecombe Baptist Church. Burial followed at Rocky Mount Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Martin Children's Fund through Edward Jones Investments at P.O. Box 8018, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or to Lockhart Elementary PTA at 1320 N. Smithfield Road, Knightdale, NC 27545, where funds will be used to purchase children's books. These memorials have been established by the family as a final tribute to Martha’s steadfast commitment to her own children and to the education of the children of North Carolina.