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Martha's Story

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Martha Shull Pierson went to be with her lord on May 31, 2017; she was six weeks shy of 95 years old. She was born on July 12, 1922, to Linville Thrasher Shull and Stella Mae (Amburgey) Shull in Flat, Wolfe County, KY. She was the eldest daughter, third of seven children. She spent her childhood in the hills and hollows of Kentucky raised in a two story home which her dad had a hand in building. As a child, she was involved in growing crops, raising their cow and chickens, making food, including churning butter, making bread and all variety of food preparation and housekeeping and sewing her own clothes.
Martha graduated from Mount Carmel High School in Kentucky and took college courses at Berea College and Asbury College. She taught school in a one-room school house in Bloody Creek, Wolfe County, KY, during WWII. She met her future husband, Raymond Elvin Pierson, while waitressing at a restaurant in Wilmore, KY, the town where Ray was studying at Asbury College. They married in about six months and then moved to Cameron, LA, for Ray's first preaching assignment. Ray's preaching took them to Georgia, then back to Louisiana, then to Indiana.
At the age of 50, Martha went back to school and obtained her LPN degree and license, and practiced hospital nursing for about 15 years in Indianapolis, IN, before retiring when Ray retired. She worked at St. Vincent's Hospital for about ten years, taking retirement when Ray did, when they were 65 years old. Martha had a variety of jobs but always enjoyed the primary one: "Preacher's Wife." They returned to their roots in the South when they moved to Crossville and lived the rest of their lives in Tennessee. Ray and Martha were married for 69 years.
Martha loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She patiently taught many how to sew, one of her great avocations. She also quilted prolifically, making at least one for each child and grandchild. She was a member of the quilting group in Crossville for years and received ribbons for her quilts at fairs and shows. The couple always, until the last few years, had an abundant vegetable garden and shared their bounty with neighbors.
A remembrance of her children is that Mom, a beautiful, young woman, married their dad and she raised their five children primarily on her own since Dad worked long hours, sometimes into the evening, at his various churches. Each of them loved her and they will miss her dearly. She lived an amazingly full life, loving each of them and developing them into the adults they came to be. Many of the "good parts" of them are a direct result of her mothering, her hard work, joy, tolerance, kindness, sense of humor and ability to laugh at life's troubles.
During her long life, she witnessed many advances of our society, including horseback transportation to motorized vehicles to space flight; dirt roads to super highways; radio to television to the internet; outhouses to indoor plumbing. The U.S. presidents she lived under were from Harding to Trump. The list goes on, through 94 years of a good life lived.
Martha is survived by her five children, Paul Timothy, architect (wife, Judy Smith), James Marcus, M.D., Mary Kathryn Jenkins, mother and artist (husband, Patrick), David Leon and Rebekah Faye Pierson-Treacy, R.N., J.D. (husband, Ed); eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; sisters Mildred Ethel Elam and Wanda Faye Koch; and brother L.T. Shull.
She was preceded in death by her brothers Ramon Churchill and Clemons Bernard and sister Frieda Mae Kyle.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Crossville, with visitation prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m.
Bilbrey Funeral Home, Inc. (www.bilbreyfh.com) was in charge of the arrangements.
Published on  June 2, 2017
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