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Martin, Mary Lee Burford

Mary Lee Burford Martin, age 93, prominent business, religious and civic leader of Jackson, died Monday, June 20, 2011 at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. She was born in Putnam County April 26, 1918, daughter of the late Rolfe Hunt Burford and Ruth Campbell Burford. She graduated from Jackson High School in 1936, her class recently celebrating their 75th reunion. She graduated from Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville and taught school for several years. She met and married George Noah Martin, Jr., on Feb. 24, 1946, celebrating 43 years of marriage at his death in 1989. Mary Lee was the second civilian employee at the Atlanta Army Depot where she worked until moving with her husband to Norfolk, Va., working at the naval base where he was stationed. They later moved to Key West, Fla., and came back to Jackson in 1948. She opened the Veteran’s Administration Office in the Jackson Courthouse. She later was a bookkeeper for Webb’s Grocery and ABW Chevrolet in Jackson for 42 years. She opened Mary Lee’s China and Gifts in Jackson, which she owned and managed for 42 years. She was a charter member of the Jackson Business and Professional Women’s Organization, which she helped hold together until it disbanded several years ago. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary in Jackson and was entered into the Butts County Hall of Fame in 1997 by the Butts County Chamber of Commerce. During World War II she was the only woman member of the Jackson National Guard. For many years Mary Lee was active in the Georgia Farm Bureau, being president of the Butts County Farm Bureau from 1989 until 2010, attending nearly all of the state and national meetings. She was a long-time member of the Jackson United Methodist Church. For many years she served on the City of Jackson Planning and Zoning Board. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Mary Ruth and Ralph Watson of Jackson; grandchildren, Leonora and Colin Clarkson of Jackson, Corley and Beth Watson of Atlanta, Christie Watson of Jackson and Dennis Conners; great-grandchildren, C.J. Clarkson, Corley Watson IV and William George Watson. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 22 at 11 a.m., in the chapel of Haisten Funeral Home of Jackson. Dr. John Brantley and Dr. Phil DeMore will officiate, with interment in the Jackson City Cemetery. The family received friends at the funeral home Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and at other times at the residence of Mary Ruth and Ralph Watson, 876 Park Place Drive in Jackson. Those desiring, in lieu of flowers, may make a memorial donation to the Scholarship Fund at Butts County Farm Bureau, 125 S. Oak St., Jackson, Ga., 30233. Those wanting to sign the online guest registry may go to www.haistenfuneral.com. Haisten Funeral Home of Jackson, your locally owned funeral home, is in charge of the arrangements.