Martha Doretha Martin was the fourth of ten children born to the late George Washington Akers and Estella (Johnson) Akers in Washington, PA on October 5, 1938. Educated in the Pittsburgh Public School system, she went on to pursue cosmetology training through the Ella-Rene Beauty School on Centre Avenue in the city’s historic Hill District.
At age 12, Martha, and some of her friends, attended a dance hosted for young people. While at the dance, she met Percy James Martin, Jr., who was also from the Hill. Martha shared that she and Percy danced several times, but whenever she attempted to switch partners, much to her dismay, no one could be found! She would later learn that Percy instructed all the other boys in attendance not to dance with her because he liked her. When Percy eventually expressed his interest in her, she replied, “But you’re short!” to which he responded, “Yeah, but I’m taller than you!” And so it was, on December 30, 1961, Percy and Martha made it official by becoming husband and wife, and together they nurtured and raised five children.
Martha was the prototype when it came to home economics and extending hospitality to others. She made the family house in Beltzhoover a home and excelled in the arts, including interior design, sewing, and crafting. She was a culinary genius who rarely used recipes, or measured ingredients. During the holidays, her house would be filled with the laughter of beloved family members and friends. Food was always plentiful, and it brought her immense joy to send her guests home with full bellies, to-go plates, and a sweet potato pie. In addition to her work inside the home, Martha established a meaningful career outside of its four walls. In 1973, she was sworn in as one of the City of Pittsburgh’s first African American School Crossing Guards. She loved her job and the young people she worked with, and she took great pride in the fact that she served in every neighborhood across the city. After more than a decade of service, she retired from the School Crossing Guards in 2001.
When it came to her interests, Martha had many, including watching football, reading, and listening to music. Some of her favorite artists included Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and in her later years, Afrobeat. Martha was a connoisseur of fine clothes, chunky jewelry, and fabulous hair. No one could work a pressing comb, or a set of stove top cast iron curlers like Martha! But of all her interests, she would say that the most important thing to her in life was nurturing relationships with her family, and long-time best friend and confidant, Delores Bey. As a devout Christian, she was the embodiment of “Agape Love,” or unconditional love, and would constantly put her needs on the back burner to ensure that her family could thrive. She delighted in the many accomplishments of her siblings, children, grandchildren, and friends and exemplified the “Ministry of Presence” by making sure she was present and accounted for at all their major life events, as her health allowed.
After a lingering illness, Martha departed this life on the morning of Sunday, January 22, 2023, at Wellstar Paulding Hospital in Hiram, Georgia. She passed in the presence of her loved ones, including her devoted daughter, and long-time caretaker, Elizabeth, her daughter Martina, and her “savior,” chief advocate and grandson, Borg. She was preceded in death by her parents, George Washington and Estella Akers, three brothers: George Washington Akers, Jr., Melvin T. Akers, and Eugene Akers; three sisters: Edna Robinson, Ruby Daw, and Ella mae Lucas; her husband: Percy James Martin, Jr., her son: Mark Anthony Martin, and her granddaughter: Goldean Lillian Martin. She leaves to cherish in memory, three daughters: Percina L. Grier, Elizabeth R. Martin, and Rev. Martina E. Efodzi (John), one son: Elder Roderick J. Martin (Bishop Renee), five grandsons: Earl A.J. Brooks, Sergeant First Class Nilark Bates, Justin A. Bugg, U.S. Airforce Veteran, Borg Bates, and Minister Josiah J. Martin, three great-grandchildren: Myla Bugg, Elegance Twapewa Brooks, and Jamir Bugg, three brothers: John, Jerome and Calvin Akers, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members, and friends.
Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at the Heavenly Vision Ministries, 9601 Frankstown Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Visitation will be 10am and services will begin at 11am. Interment immediately follows at the Allegheny Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Aldrich Funeral Homes; 431 E 9th Ave, Munhall, PA 15120; Tel: 412-461-3400
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