Gladys Willene Martin: A True Southern Lady
Gladys Willene Martin passed away with her daughter by her side on May 23, 2023. She was born into humble beginnings in Fyffe, Alabama, and leaves behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the hearts of those she touched. While Willene was beautiful, there was so much more to her than that. Her indomitable spirit radiated a love for others that was unmeasurably Christlike and uplifting. Willene was a pillar of strength, grace, and elegance. She is deeply missed by all those who know her.
Willene was the quintessential Southern lady. Politeness and hospitality flowed effortlessly from her, as she welcomed friends and strangers alike with open arms and a warm smile. She had a sunny disposition and an infectious smile that lit up every room. She had a talent for making people feel at home. Her hospitality was unmatched, and she could effortlessly turn a simple gathering into a grand celebration. Willene will forever remain in the hearts of her loved ones as an everlasting beacon of gracious Southern charm.
She met her husband, Calvin Martin, at school. After he swept her off her feet, they married. The couple made their first home in Chattanooga, where she worked at the American Lava. After their daughter, Karen, was born Willene devoted herself to being a stay-at-home wife and mother.
Homemaking was Willene’s true joy in life. She had a talent for creating a welcoming and inviting ambiance within her home. Willene was an amazing cook and an immaculate housekeeper. Whether it was a meticulously prepared meal or a simple glass of iced tea, she had a way of making every occasion special. Willene was a true steward of the earth and loved gardening. She was passionate about cultivating and nurturing beautiful and thriving gardens of flowers.
Beyond her role as a masterful homemaker, Willene had an impeccable eye for fashion. She was a natural fashionista with a flair for effortlessly combining colors and textures that reflected her timeless taste. She was an exceptional seamstress who could copy the latest fashions just by looking at pictures in magazines. Willene designed and sewed most of her and her daughter’s clothes when her daughter was young because they didn’t have a lot of money. When Karen was a teenager, she would draw pictures of clothes she wanted and her mother always found a way to make the clothes. It thrilled Karen beyond words to draw a design and have her mother make it. Willene’s innate sense of style, both in fashion and in life, became an inspiration for others seeking to find their own authentic style.
Willene was a long-time and faithful member of Lupton Drive Baptist Church. She had many friends there that she loved there. Willene was a compassionate spirit whose passion was caring for others. As a cafeteria manager at Bright School, she absolutely loved feeding the children. Willene found great joy and pride in watching out for them.
Willene always believed that everyone is good at heart. Throughout her life and especially during hardships, God always shined through Willene. Her strength, resilience, and unwavering faith served as a guiding light, reminding all those who knew her to navigate life’s challenges with grace and unwavering determination. Willene will be greatly missed and leaves a profound void in the hearts of her family and friends.
Willene is preceded in death by her parents Charlie and Corine Bouldin, her beloved husband Calvin, her sister Freddie, her brother Gary, and her beloved grand-dog Ethyl.
Surviving are her daughter, Karen, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held Thursday June 1, 2023, at 1:00 PM at the Lupton Drive Baptist Church with Reverend Randy Bell officiating. Interment will be private.
The family will receive friends Wednesday from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM. at the funeral home, and on Thursday one hour prior to the service at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. www.stjude.org in Willene’s memory.
Arrangements entrusted to Lane Funeral Home 601 Ashland Terrace www.lanefh.com (423) 877-3524.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105