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Martha L. de Vos

Obituary
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Martha Lillian (Beam) de Vos

Southern Pines

Martha Lillian (Beam) de Vos died peacefully in her sleep on December 28, 2013.

Martha was born in Shelby, North Carolina in 1920 to Joseph David Beam and Annie Louise Brooks. When she was young her parents moved to Hamlet, North Carolina, where she grew up and graduated from Hamlet High School in 1937. After graduation she went to Westhampton College (part of the University of Richmond) where she graduated in 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

After graduation from Westhampton, she worked at the Petersburg, Virginia hospital and earned certification in allergy technology and as a Clinical Laboratory Technologist as certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. With the entry of the United States into the Second World War, she entered the Women's Auxiliary Corps (WACs), serving at Fort Devens, in Devens, Massachusetts, where she was put in charge of the clinical laboratory on the base. There she met her husband, Francis de Vos, who was also serving in the Army. They were married in Hamlet in 1946. Martha then worked as research instructor in the Veterinary Science Department at the University of Massachusetts in Northampton, Massachusetts, while her husband finished his master's degree. Later they moved to Ithaca, New York, where she was put in charge of the campus clinical laboratory at Cornell University while her husband completed his Ph.D. While in Northampton, their first child was born, followed the next year by the birth of their second child in Ithaca.

After her husband earned his Ph. D., they moved to Washington, D.C. where her husband became the Assistant Director for United States National Arboretum. While they were in the D.C. area, their next three children were born and she served as a Girl Scout leader and Sunday school teacher. For the first several years they lived on grounds of the Arboretum. They then moved to Silver Spring, Maryland where they stayed until 1967 when her husband accepted the job as the first Director of the Chicago Botanical Gardens and they moved to Wilmette, Illinois. They stayed in Wilmette until 1976 when they moved to Minneapolis where Doctor de Vos became the second Director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and a Professor at the University of Minnesota. During her time in the Silver Spring and Wilmette worked as a librarian and a high school teacher, respectively.

After her husband retired in 1984, they moved to Southern Pines, North Carolina. In Southern Pines, she remained very active serving as the president of American Association of University Women, the president of League of Women Voters, and a board member of Friends of Weymouth Foundation, Sandhills Horticultural Society, the Ruth Pauley lecture series and Meals on Wheels.

In addition to her undergraduate degree, she was awarded an Honorary Degree from Richmond Community College and did postgraduate work at Cornell University, the University of Maryland and Lake Forest College.

She and her husband, who predeceased her, had five children: Peter Francis, who lives in Baltimore, Ann Beam, who lives in Hoover, Alabama, Federica Jo, who lives in Midlothian, Virginia, Martha Randall, who predeceased her, and Judith Elizabeth, who lives in Fair Oaks, Texas. In addition to her children, she had 15 grandchildren and 10 grandchildren.

Martha asked that donations on her behalf be made to either Richmond Community College in Hamlet, North Carolina or Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Boles Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.in Southern Pines will be assisting the family.
Published in The News & Observer on Jan. 14, 2014
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Boles Funeral Home
425 W. Pennsylvania Avenue Southern Pines, NC 28387
(910) 692-6262
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