Martha Anne "Marty" Justice Abernathy

Martha Anne "Marty" Justice Abernathy was born to Herbert R. and Kate Clinkscales Justice on October 11, 1937, at home at Calcis, Alabama. She was a passionate educator, taking pride in her children’s, family members she tutored and students' achievements.

Martha loved travel but stayed close to her roots, doing genealogy and local history research and sharing vividly written/told stories about growing up in Alabama.

She married Gerald Lee Abernathy (ex-husband, deceased) on the 20th of May 1959, in Trenton, Georgia. Shortly thereafter they moved back to Alabama into their first home in Sycamore. Two children were born; a son (while they lived in Calcis), Byron, born in Leeds; and a daughter, Cathy who was born in Talladega.

The couple divorced in 1980 but kept in touch over the years.  

Martha passed away during a brief stay at Brookwood Hospital on September 23, 2022, shortly before her 85th birthday. 

Visitation will be held Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Kilgroe Funeral Home in Pell City. A family-only graveside service will be held at 1:00 pm at Macedonia North Baptist Cemetery; and a celebration of life memorial service will be held at Macedonia North Church after the private graveside service. 

Marty received her bachelor’s degree at Jacksonville State University; and advanced degrees at the University of Alabama and Florida State University. She did her student teaching at Vincent, Alabama. She was a lifelong teacher, including her childhood doll playing (according to a sister) and her retirement years. 

Martha was passionate about all levels of mathematics and was able to convey this excitement to many of her students over the decades.

She began her teaching career certified to the four basics — mathematics, science, English and social studies. How many knew her dedication a passion for learning? A brief summary of her influence with her students: 

1960s-1970s —She taught for a number of years at B. B. Comer School in Sylacauga, Alabama; Coosa Valley Academy in Harpersville, AL; and Fayetteville School, in Talladega County, AL.

1980s — She taught for several high schools in Bartow County, Georgia; as well as othersin that state.

1990s-2000s (and beyond) — She taught evening computer classes at Floyd Junior College (Rome, GA) at a local high school; she also held adjunct teaching position(s) at Ayers State Technical College, in Anniston, Jefferson State, near Birmingham, and Gadsden State (Anniston and Ft. McClellan campuses).

Personal time (weekends) found her helping people with tending to grass cutting; helping elder people on weekends and other physical chores.

After leaving full time employment, she loved doing substitute teaching at Vincent High School. 

She also often was seen (locally in a Calhoun County,  McDonald's restaurant dining room) helping to tutor young and college-age students in mathematics, while reviewing for college entrance exams, or study for major test.

Her personal time was spent tending her yard, working crossword puzzles, playing piano and harmonica, solving Sudoku puzzles and she was an avid reader. Some of her favorite book series were: The Hardy Boys Mysteries, Nancy Drew Mysteries; the Harry Potter Series, and any book that related to the "Star Wars" universe.

She loved "Wheel of Fortune" and the flickering of a movie projector tended to cause to fall asleep during movies. Her favorite film from the 1980's was "Xanadu" and she saw it many times when it was released on VHS and DVD.

She played shaped note music on her upright piano for many years; and it could be heard echoing for miles; with melodies of her favorite southern gospel hymns.

Martha worked at many extra (and interesting) jobs over the years to support her two children. She would try almost anything, including home delivery of newspapers (Birmingham News); and daily, she was delivering Krispy Kreme doughnuts to local restaurants and stores in the Birmingham area. Her truck was loaded and on the road before 5:00 am, and the route covered several hundred miles daily. 

In more recent years after compromised health issues prevented her from leaving home, she emailed historical and inspirational messages to dozens of friends and relatives every day until her final trip to the hospital. 

Everyone who knew Marty felt her big heart and giving nature. And she wasn’t beyond pulling a trick on you when you least expected it! Children loved her.

Martha Justice Abernathy was predeceased by her parents — her father: Herbert R. Justice, son of Isaac C. Justice and his first wife, Desdamona E. Hayne; and mother: Hester Kate "Kate" Clinkscales, daughter of William Berry Clinkscales and Alice Valera (Valerie) Spruiell.

She was also predeceased by her sister, Frances Justice Warren (Ernest) and two brothers, Herman "Bryant" Justice (Katherine); and Tillman Eugene "Gene" Justice (ex, Vickie Lynn Bettes); and several siblings that died in infancy.

She is survived by son, Byron K. Abernathy, daughter, Cathy Ann Abernathy (Dave Patty); sister Sarah Justice Malcolm of Richmond, Texas; sister-in-law Katherine; and brother, Harold Justice and wife Gail of Madison, Alabama.; and a host of adored nieces, nephews, cousins, and surrogate grandchildren. 

The family would like to recognize cousin Nolen Clinkscales and his wife Yvonne for their unfailing kindnesses to Marty. They couldn’t have done more over the years had they been her siblings. Another constant angel was Donna Beavers, Martha’s dear friend and former student. Donna was always just a phone call away and would tackle any problem. She was a great help to Martha’s nephew and attorney Bill Justice, in cutting through red tape in the nursing home in which Marty was compelled to stay for several months. Through the years, Bill took care of his Aunt Marty every time he was called upon, which was often. Personal care assistant Michelle Hamilton went far beyond the call of duty in providing attention to Martha’s needs; and the Frosts (neighbors) over the years.

Thank you, Nolen, Yvonne, Donna, Bill, Michelle; and the many others who made Marty’s daily life richer, as well as easier for her to tolerate her limitations. The family also wishes to recognize the care given by the staff at various care units in Brookwood Hospital.

For those wishing to memorialize Martha Abernathy, contributions may be made to Macedonia North Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, addressed to Nolen Clinkscales, 3785 Hwy 57, Vincent, AL 35178.