Note: This story was updated at 2:37 p.m.
Shirley Gail Martin, a former longtime member of the Anderson County school board who served two years as county election administrator, died Wednesday, September 7. She was 75.
Martin, of Claxton, passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge, her obituary said.
“She was an education activist who gave 24 years to the Anderson County Board of Education, as well as being a devoted Democrat,” the obituary said.
Former Anderson County School Director Larry Foster, who retired at the end of June, said Martin will be missed as a personal friend and also as a community leader. She worked for excellence in education in Anderson County, Foster said, and her long service on the school board indicated that.
Martin stayed involved in the educational area even after she left the school board, and she would attend meetings, call Foster from time to time to ask what was happening, and bring issues of concern to him.
“She wanted excellence,” Foster said Friday.
He said Martin was also a peacemaker who wanted to create unity when factions developed and build bridges when there were disagreements.
She represented Claxton on the county school board, but she saw the entire county as her district, Foster said.
“She was kind of a go-to person,” he said.
Martin was on the board of Anderson County Democratic Women, and she was an active member of the Anderson County Democratic Party and worked tirelessly to strengthen and improve it, said Catherine Denenberg, chair of the Anderson County Democratic Party.
“She was a strong Democrat who worked in devotion to making Anderson County a strong county for all of its citizens,” Denenberg said.
After she served on the school board, Martin, who was born on May 18, 1941, served about two years as administrator of the Anderson County Election Commission. She was hired in September 2007 after former administrator Jo Ann Garrett retired, and she preceded the current administrator, Mark Stephens, who was chosen in August 2009.
Martin is survived by her two daughters, Hope Holdaway and son-in-law Michael Holdaway, and Paige Martin. She is also survived by her grandsons, Taylor Martin and Caden John.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Shirley and Odell Ledbetter, along with her brother, Michael Ledbetter, and her husband Samuel J. Martin.
The family will receive friends Sunday, September 11, at Holley Gamble Funeral Home of Clinton from 4-7 p.m. A celebration of life will immediately follow.
The family is in the process of organizing a scholarship fund for a Clinton and Anderson County High School graduate for at the end of this academic year. The scholarship will be in memory of Gail and her strong dedication to the Anderson County school system.
See Martin’s obituary here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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