There is a great and beloved Christmas movie starring Jimmy Stewart titled “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This
movie celebrates life. It asks an interesting question: “What if the main character, named George Bailey, had
never been born?”
That is the same question I would like to ask you, but instead of a fictional character, I’d like to use the life
of my grandmother who died, on my birthday, at the age of 88.
Let us ask, what would I have missed in my life, and what would the world have missed, if there had been
no person named Marie Hall Martin. Here are just a few things:
She was born on May 27, 1912 to Jethro and Rosa Meade Hall of Puncheon, Kentucky. Marie was one of
nine children and is survived by two remaining siblings: Annie Hampton and Goshen Hall and a host of nieces
Marie married Ibra Martin on July 12, 1928 and to this union was born six children, Miami, Maywood,
Amom, Anon, Rose, affectionately known as Bud and Dolly, and Namon. Ibra preceded Marie in death on
October 5, 1941 and Miani in 1943.
Marie watched as her children blossom into adults and the family circle grew as Mae married Ivan
Amburgey, Amom married Elvie Holbook, Anon married Velma Leigh and Rose married Drushell Fugate and
later Tom Wiwi was welcomed into their family circle.
It is amazing that this simple woman, raised in a hollow, schooled in an one room school house and armed
with only her common sense and uncommon love and total devotion to her children...who grew up without a
father figure in their formative years and with limited means...could become such an excellent parent.
Grandchildren and great-grandchildren are Marie’s legacy here on earth. Grandma is survived by nine
grandchildren: Brenda, Shirley, Theresa, Diane, Susan, Sharon, Nathan, Leesa and Jamie. Marie is also
survived by thirteen great-grandchildren: Jason, Austin, Darren, Stephanie, Autumn, Jacqueline, Lindsey,
Matthew, Brandon, Steven, Talmadge, Laura and Caleb. Marie was preceded in death by one great
Marie is also survived by her family at the Little Rebecca Church of the Old Regular Baptist. She was
baptized on October 10, 1964 and was a member there for over 36 years.
I have always loved History, in fact I majored in it at college and Grandma was a wonderful source for it.
One of my favorite history lessons from her was when I asked if she could recall seeing her first airplane.
Granny explained that her siblings and her were outside working and they heard a noise unlike anything that
they had ever heard before. When they saw this strange object flying over their heads, just knowing that the
world was ending, they all ran into the chicken coop. I mention this story to one of Grandma’s sisters and
Annie added that “the chickens ran too!”
Visiting Grandma, when I was little, meant a yard filled with unlimited butterflies and hummingbirds, making
mud pies at the end of her driveway, a feather bed that you needed help to get out of, a walk to the old school
house and washing you hair in rain water that had been caught in those big silver tubs.
Yes, Marie made some outstanding contributions during her life, but it is in the area of relationships where
the world would be so much poorer, had she never been born. Her priorities were solid: Her children, her
family and her friends.
Marie was a loving mother and little granny. She was dedicated to her Christian beliefs, the color pink and
strawberry ice cream.
Marie’s love for flowers was undying as was her stubbornness.
Grandma was a mean cook when it came to vegetable soup and chocolate pie.
However, you could count on never having her fix you a cheeseburger.
She had the knack of keeping secrets...just ask her children.
And she longed for the day all of her children were together in the same room. At her funeral, she got her
We are all fortunate and blessed that Marie had 88 years, 10 months and 24 days on this earth.
The true measure of a person is the lasting impression that they have made on people. For those of us
that Marie has touched in our lives, we will never forget her smile, her loving arms, and her kind words.
At the close of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey returns to his family with new self-
knowledge and a deeper appreciation of life. He learns that no person is poor who has friends.
Her family is now in that role. We have the wonderful knowledge, appreciation and love of the life of our
friend, mother, grandmother and little granny Marie. She will be missed very much and forever.
Thank you, Grandma for a wonderful life.
Written by her Granddaughter, Susan Amburgey-Hicks.