Longtime St. Marys resident Shirley Bemis Martin passed away peacefully on October 20, 2019 at Elk Haven Nursing Home.
Shirley was born on July 27, 1928 in St. Marys, daughter of the late Arthur Sheldon Bemis and Louise Derthick Bemis.
In 1949 she married Fred D. “Pepper” Martin at Shiloh Presbyterian church and remained married to him until his passing in November 2000. A graduate of St. Marys Public School Class of 1946, she then studied speech pathology at Pennsylvania College for Women (PCW) in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Shirley was sensitive and compassionate, loved life and was delightful and caring. She lived her life as a committed Christian, as exemplified by her commitment to her faith by her love and service to the Shiloh Presbyterian Church, of which she was a life-long member and, up to her passing, was the longest living member in the history of the church. In addition to spending decades as a Sunday School teacher for all ages at Shiloh, she served many years as the Senior Youth Director, touching many young lives along the way.
Shirley had a passionate interest in, and knowledge of, American history. Her love of genealogy led to her not only joining the Sheldon Family Association (one of oldest of its type in the nation), but also to joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), of which she was a 50-plus-year member. Music always played a huge role in Shirley’s life, and she sang in the Shiloh church choir, which she was part of for decades. She was an accomplished singer as well as piano player, able to read music or play by ear at a moment’s notice, and knew more songs than most people hear in a lifetime. These included modern, classical, traditional and gospel. She taught piano for many years and shared her musical as well as leadership talents at many recitals, benefits and talent shows. She especially loved and influenced her younger piano students. Shirley also loved antiques and antique collecting, and she was co-owner/co-founder of Antiques and Originals, originally located in the Meisel Bakery Building, which operated in the late 60s/early 70s. Shirley was always very active in community affairs, including acting in Footlighter theatrical plays, volunteering for worthwhile causes such as the Christian Food Bank(founding member), participating in organizations as varied as the AAUW and the PCW, and supporting a wide variety of local activities, organizations and benefits. Over the years she was known as Shirley, Mom, Mumsy, Momma, Grammy, Buzz and Beam.
In addition to her husband and parents, Shirley was preceded in death by a half-sister, Evelyn Bemis Cleveland in 1974. Shirley is survived by five children: Karen Martin of Atlanta, Ga., Gingi Martin (Peter Feran) of Homosassa, Fla., Arthur Martin of St. Marys, Kim Martin of St. Marys, and Frederic Martin (Bethanne) of Charlotte, NC. In addition to her children, she is also survived by seven grandchildren: Heather Carter (Ric), Danny, Emily, Ethan(Heather), & Levi Nelson, and Hunter and Trace Martin, and seven great-grandchildren: Isaiah, Ian, Emma, Ava, Leif, Britta and Sigrid Pearl. Shirley was the last member of her immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shiloh Church Abiding Memorial Fund, the Christian Food Bank, or the Elk Haven Nursing Home Activities Fund. If nothing else, please pass along an act of kindness and think of Shirley.
There will be no visitation.
A memorial service is being scheduled and will be held in the near-future at the convenience of the family.
Lynch-Green Funeral Home, 151 N. Michael Street, St. Marys, PA is handling the arrangements and online condolences may be made to the family at www.lynchgreenfuneralhome.com.
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