Martha Shelton, age 89, of Westover and Kirkwood by the River, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2023, at the Palliative Care and Comfort Center of UAB Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Martha was born to Clersy and Benny Hasenbein and grew up in Woodlawn and Mount Olive, Alabama, where she met her beloved husband, Jack. They were married at Shady Grove Methodist Church in Mt. Olive. Martha and Jack were married for 67 years.
Martha graduated from Mortimer Jordan High School in 1951 and from Alabama College (Montevallo) in 1955, where she majored in Home Economics. She completed an internship to become a Registered Dietitian at the VA Hospital in Houston, Texas. Martha taught nutrition to nursing students at Duke University and worked in hospitals in North Carolina while Jack attended Duke Divinity School. When they returned to Tuscaloosa, she worked at Druid City Hospital. In the 1970's she became one of Alabama's first consulting dietitians, serving small hospitals and nursing homes in the west Alabama area. After moving to Westover, she worked for Shelby Memorial Hospital before retiring in 1998.
Martha made three trips to Scotland with Jack in their early marriage, where he completed his PhD at the University of Glasgow. Through the years, she supported him in his work as a minister in local congregations in South Carolina and Alabama and as the United Methodist campus minister at the University of Alabama. She championed his work as a civil rights advocate in the 1960's, and later supported him in his work with rural communities in Alabama and around the world.
Martha was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, where she played handbells, worked with homeless women at First Light, and served as deacon and elder. She was intensely interested in matters of social and environmental justice.
Martha loved the water, and she swam and did water aerobics with her friends at the Greystone YMCA and at the Recreation Center in Waynesville, North Carolina, where she and Jack had a summer home. She was also a faithful member of the Shelby County Homemakers Club.
Martha, with Jack, created and sustained a home where her sons felt safe, loved, and free to be themselves. She made their friends welcome and loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She made it a priority to stay connected to her extended families, the Weekses and Hasenbeins.
Martha looked for beauty in the places she lived and traveled and in the people she knew and loved. She brought beauty and laughter into her home and made it a place where everyone was valued and taken care of. Martha made and kept good friends everywhere she went.
Martha was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Patsy, and her grandson, Charlie. She is survived by her husband, Jack, her brother, George (Audrey), her sons, Rick (Cathy), Greg (Kim), and Steve (Kelley), her grandchildren, Scott (Kathleen), Samantha (Stephen), Andrew (Katie), Andy (Kelsi), Adam (Kealey), Johnny (Brittany), Ben (Ashlyn), Steven, and her eleven great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service for Martha will be held at 2pm on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church, 2100 4th Ave. N, Birmingham, AL 35203, with a reception at the church to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Martha's name to the ministry and work of First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, www.fpcbham.org