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Dr. Virginia Lorelle Martin
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Obituary for Dr. Virginia Lorelle Martin

Dr. Virginia Lorelle Martin, Mount Olive resident, went to be with the Lord late Monday afternoon, July 10. Virginia was born November 29, 1939 to Robert R. and Lorelle Franck Martin. A Mount Olive native, she spent most of her adult life in Charlotte, N.C. where she worked at Queens University.
A service to celebrate Dr. Martins life will be held Wednesday, July 12, at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Mount Olive. Dr. Dennis R. Atwood and the Rev. Felicia Fox will officiate. Visitation will be in the sanctuary during the hour before the service. Interment will follow the service at Martin-Price Cemetery.
Dr. Martin received her B.S. degree in 1961 from Wake Forest University, her M.S. degree in 1963, and her Ph.D. in 1967, both from Emory University. It was in 1966 that she joined the faculty at Queens University as assistant professor of biology, becoming associate professor in 1972, and professor of biology in 1979. During her tenure, she also chaired the Biology Department and chaired the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics. Likewise, she served on many committees during the 39 years of which she devoted herself to Queens and its students. At her retirement in May of 2005, she returned to Mount Olive to live with and care for her aging mother. At her retirement, she was named Professor Emerita by the Board of Trustees at Queens. During the retirement presentation, it was noted that her relationships with her students did not cease with their graduation, for with them she forged a life-long friendship. Fellow faculty members spoke of her abilities with a certain awe, remarking of how they perceived her as being an Artist Teacher. She personified the Queens motto, Not to be served, but to serve, and she served the university, its faculty and students, and her communities so very well.
Throughout her teaching career, she continued to learn and grow. In 1974, she traveled to Kenya and Tanzania, and following so, she took a leave of absence from 1974 1976 in order to teach in Nigeria. In April of 1975, the Federal Military Government of Nigeria announced that seven new universities were to be established and the University of Calabar was amongst the seven. Dr. Martin helped in the establishment of the Biological Science program at Calabar. She devoted a semester for research at the National Institutes of Health in 1981, and in 1983, was awarded the first Carol B. Belk Faculty Fellowship to study in the Galapagos Islands. Active for many years in the Association of Southeastern Biologists and its fraternity for biology students, Beta Beta Beta, she was recipient of the Yokley Faculty Service Award in 1999.
Just this past May, Dr. Martin funded three large scholarships for deserving science students, and while she was unable to be in attendance at the presentations, this was her way of continuing to impact the education and lives of young scientists for future years.
It is remembered that upon her return home to Mount Olive in 2005, she assisted her mother in the Read to Succeed program at Carver Elementary School, was an active member of First Baptist Church of Mount Olive and Mount Olive Exchange Club, as well as other organizations, including the Delta Kappa Gamma, of which she had been past president.
She being the last survivor of her immediate family, having been preceded in death by her parents, Robert R. and Lorelle F. Martin, her only brother, Robert R. Bob Martin, Jr. and his wife, Merle Williams Martin, she leaves behind several cousins from the Martin and Franck families.
She and her mother were most appreciative for being cared for by the most loving and devoted caregivers who made it possible for them to remain at home until they were called to be with the Lord. They also relished the fact that their pets also received extraordinary love and attention. Those who provided love and care to the Martins include Mary Ellen Hoffman, Jemil Bass, Christy Crawford, Doris Darden, Ire Darden, Barbara Millard, Juanita Moody, and Harriet Wheeler. Anyone who knew Virginia, knows of her love for animals, and about how she always had them around her, even until her passing.
For those wishing to pay tribute to Dr. Martins life with a memorial gift, please consider either of the following: Dr. Virginia L. Martin Endowed Science Scholarship, Queens University, Attn.: Advancement, 1900 Selwyn Ave., Charlotte, NC 28274; the Lorelle F. and Robert R. Martin Family Endowment, University of Mount Olive, attn.: Gift Records, 634 Henderson St., Mount Olive, NC 28365; or First Baptist Church Memorial Fund, PO Box 239, Mount Olive, NC 28365.

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11:00 AM
First Baptist Church

E. John & N. Chestnutt Streets


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