Martha Eva White passed away peacefully in her home on January 15, 2022 at 85 years of age. Born on September 9, 1936 in Cordova, IL, Martha was the daughter of John and Helen Nelson. Moving with her family from Illinois to Mississippi at a young age, she was no stranger to adversity. Her strength of spirit and industrious nature was on display early on as an all-conference basketball player in Noxubee County, and most notably later, as a professional nurse for over 40 years. It was her career as a nurse that introduced her to her beloved husband Lester White, whom she was happily married to for over 60 years.
For twenty-five years of her nursing career, Martha served as a public health nurse in Kemper County. Beloved and revered by everyone in the community, she was affectionately known as “the shot lady,” and she worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone in the community received the resources they needed. Her unparalleled work ethic and dedication to others won her acclaim at both the local and state Department of Health, as she was recognized by both organizations for her outstanding service to the community, known to treat everyone, no matter their background, with dignity and respect. Martha also served her church for many years, as she and Lester were active members of New Hope Church until her health declined in recent years.
Her legacy of service and care, strength of spirit and industrious nature will have a lasting impact on all who knew her. Though she left an undeniable imprint on countless hearts, it is perhaps those who knew her best, her family, who hold her in highest esteem. Six of her immediate family followed in her footsteps by becoming nurses. Cherished and deeply loved by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who were the light of her life, Martha, or “Gran-Gran”as she was affectionally known, conveyed the beauty and honor of life laid down in service to others and to her Christ. She will be remembered by her family as a model of the well-known Proverbs 31 passage:
Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
Martha was preceded in death by her husband Lester White, her sister Anna Mae Edwards, and her brothers Bill Nelson and Henry Nelson. She is survived by her son Johnny White (Suzanne) and daughter Debbie Horn (Victor), and by her eight grandchildren Vic Horn (Meredith), Drew Horn, Johnathan White (Deanna), Garth Horn (Mary Leigh), Janice Bishop (Cory), Laura Horn (Justin), Jordan White, and Nathan White, and by her 12 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brothers, Mike Nelson, George Nelson and sister Mary Stribling.
Graveside services will be held January 17 at 3:00 p.m. at Pinecrest Cemetery in DeKalb.
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