Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Martin Family Reunion in Heaven

Papaw joined Mamaw, his Brothers and Sisters, his parents and Jesus today. This morning around 8:45 am, Papaw took his last breathe. Mom, Ken, Virginia, Paulette, and I were with him. He went peacefully into the light and took a healthy deep breath of fresh heavenly air.

I never intended to be there when he took his last breath, but somehow, I felt comforted by being there. I honestly didn't think I was strong enough to handle it. I underestimated myself. When Mamaw died, I wasn't there. I grieved a lot. It took me a long time to feel peace. Today, I felt peace almost immediately. I cried and prayed, but it was a praise cry. A thank you God cry. Not that I wanted him to go, but I knew that he would be in a much better place, with many loved ones. Breathing easier. (I hate smoking).

Everyone pulled together today. While Mom, Ken and I were taking care of funeral and cemetery arrangements, Pete, Kelly and Wes went to the nursing home and emptied Papaw's room. I don't think it was something we had to do today, but it's done. The room is empty (actually someone else is already moved in it). I think this was the best help that happened today. There's no rush to move furniture or go through clothes. I took care of the obituary (I've been working on it for a few days). Others are working on picture collages and things like that.

Because Bobby cannot get here until tomorrow evening, the visitation will be on Thursday evening. The funeral is set for Friday at 10:30am. Thanks to everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers. Mom and Ken are doing okay. I think they are both relieved that Papaw isn't suffering anymore. Virginia is still having a hard time. We'll all be grieving in our own ways, but I think the peace is felt throughout the family.

Here's the obituary.

John Paul Martin
Christian Husband and Father
US Navy Retired

Funeral services for John Paul Martin, 80, of Meridian will be held on November 20 at 10:30 am at Robert Barham Family Funeral Home. Mr. Martin died Tuesday, November 17 at Riley Hospital, Meridian. Burial with full military honors will be at Forrest Lawn Cemetery. Robert Barham Family Funeral Home, Meridian, is in charge of arrangements. Mr. Martin was born March 4, 1929, in Vardaman, Mississippi, to Addie Mae Harden Martin and Michael Carol Martin. He attended Vardaman High School. He married Mary Inez Long of Blaine, Mississippi on July 30, 1949. They were married for 53 years, until her death in 2002. He married Virginia Stewart on November 22, 2003. He was a faithful member of Northcrest Baptist Church, where he sang in the choir and served as a deacon for many years. Mr. Martin earned the rank of Senior Chief in the US Navy, and served his country for 26 years. During his career, he served on numerous ships, and retired as a recruiter in Meridian in 1975. After retirement, he worked for Irby’s Optical in Meridian. He will be remembered as a beloved Father, Husband, Grandfather, Great Grandfather and Brother. He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 53 years, Mary Inez Martin, six brothers; Manley, Wayne, Felix, Charles, Mike Jr., and James, and three sisters; Bernice, Pearl and Ann.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia Martin; three children, Kenneth Paul (and Debra) Martin of Vicksburg, Robert James (and Masayo) Martin of Kaneohe, Hawaii, and Sheila Gail (and David) Kowall of Enterprise; two stepchildren, Travis Stewart and Paulette Buchanan, both of Meridian; one brother, Dale Martin of Leland; two sisters, Bonnie Naron of Vardaman, Mary Ruth Johnson of Woodland; seven grandchildren, Becky (and Jim) Dennis of Vicksburg, Laura (and Jay) Knight of Brandon, Evelyn (and Wes) Watkins of Meridian, Pete (and Kelly) Kowall of Charleston, South Carolina, Joshua (and Amy) Martin of Pearl, Kaine Martin and Daichi Martin of Kaneohe, Hawaii; and two great-grandchildren, Nathan Knight and Gracie Dennis.

Pallbearers will be provided by the military. Honorary pallbearers are Pete Kowall, Josh Martin, Jim Dennis, Wes Watkins, Jay Knight and Andy Martin. Visitation will be on Thursday, November 19, from 5-8pm at Robert Barham Family Funeral Home. The Revs. Malcolm Lewis, Max Burris, Danny Lanier, and Paul Davis will be officiating.

The family requests memorial donations to be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (http://www.cff.org/) or the Boomer Esiason Foundation (http://www.esiason.org/).

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