In Memory Martha Allen Newby

Martha Elizabeth Allen Newby

January 26, 1922-November 27, 2014

martha newby


Mrs. Martha, as we fondly referred to her was promoted on Thanksgiving day at the age of 92. Mrs. Martha was born in Columbia, Tennessee to William James Allen and Gladys Wilson Allen. She graduated from Columbia Central High School in 1940 and Athens College in 1944 where she meet her husband, James Martin Newby. They were married for 68 years until Mr. James’ promotion in 2012. She was a teacher at Copeland School and Johnson Jr. High School. Mrs. Martha was a member of Sardis Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and sang in the choir for many years. She was a devoted wife and loving mother and grandmother with many friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, James Martin Newby, her parents, sisters, Mary Frances Gladney, Annie Walker Bailey, Gladys Clymer, Marguerite Allen, brothers, Jimmy Allen, Evan Allen and Paul Allen. Mrs. Martha is survived by her sons, James [Jimmy] Martin Newby, Jr. and wife, Martha and Jerry Allen Newby and wife, Dianne, both of Athens; daughter, Susan Newby Ming and husband, Bill of Athens; grandchildren, John Martin Newby and wife Monica, Leigh Anne Newby Toone and husband, Shane, James Michael Newby and wife, Lindsay, Elizabeth Ann Newby Crow and husband, Justin. Mary Anna Newby, Jerry Allen Newby, Jr. and wife, Ashley, William Calvin Ming, Jr., Elizabeth Newby Ming, Sarah Martha Ming; 10 great-grandchildren; brother, Ernest Wilson Allen and wife, Virginia of Columbia, TN; sister-in-laws, Lorene Allen of Columbia, TN and Wynelle Allen of Pulaski, TN and many nieces and nephews. To donate to the Martha A. Newby Scholarship Fund, send money to University Scholarship Fund Foundation, P.O. Box 70 Athens, AL.


I’ve been in the gospel ministry for over 45 years and I’ve never known a perfect couple but the couple above came as close to perfection as any I know. I’ve never known a man to treat a woman with more respect than did James Martin Newby. Mama, as he referred to her was number one and he let everyone know that she was number one.

James, William, Martha

When I was a kid there were two professions that I shied away from and that was preachers and school teachers. As a general rule, school teachers and I did not get along all that well but it was not their fault. I ate at Mrs. Martha’s table a lot as a kid and I had great respect for she and Mr. James. Actually, it was more than respect, it was fear and trembling and the man never raised his voice to me one time. I don’t know what it was but the one thing I knew was I did not want to get in his dog house and I imagine I came close a couple of times but thank God Jerry was always first in line. After he finished with Jerry, I think he knew that I was not going to be a problem. He did have a one of one with me when I was about 14-15 and I have not forgotten it. He was very clear but very kind and it was a turning point for me. I didn’t get that close to Mrs. Martha until the later years.

Martha, James, Naola (1)

To be honest with you, I was a little shocked that we hit it off so well. Mrs. Martha was an avid reader of the DIGEST for years. She did get to where she could not read the last couple of years but up till then she read it front and back. There were times when I was a little nervous about visiting she and Mr. James due to something radical that I had printed in the DIGEST. I came to discover that she was as conservative as I was and she became my number one encourager. She never rebuked me the first time but always laughed at the stories and encouraged me to keep writing. We are Americans and we frown at the idea of Kings and Royals but to me Martha Newby MNewby2 (1)was a noble woman, a cut above. She had both class and convictions; manners and morals; beauty and brains. She was sophisticated but simple. She was low maintenance. She was content with what she had. Her salt and pepper shaker were the same when she departed as they were when I was a kid. I had planned to visit her on Friday November 28 but I go the call about her departure on the 27th, Thanksgiving Day. I was disappointed, I thought I had at least one more Christmas with Mrs. Martha. I drove by the house Christmas Eve. I miss her! When I looked at the house, I had a big empty feeling. Below is Mrs. Martha with her beautiful daughter Susan. Danville folks, if you can guess Susan’s age, I’ll take you to CB. Athens folks are disqualified. She looks 29 but you’ll have to guess a little higher to get close.


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