Martha Thompson Foster|
Virginia Beach -
Martha Elizabeth Thompson Foster, 85, a native of Norfolk who recently returned "home" following an extended visit with family and grandchildren in Alabama, died Aug. 7, 2014.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 56 years, Richard A. "Dick" Foster, a Norfolk native and long-time transportation executive who dedicated his life to her care for two decades following a brain aneurism that left her disabled at the age of 57.
The second youngest of nine children, "Marty" was born on Jan. 23, 1929 in Culpepper, Va. to Mardgie Mills and James Henry Thompson. Following the early passing of her parents, she grew up under the care of older siblings in Norfolk's Park Place neighborhood. She attended Maury High School and was a member of Park Place Methodist Church.
Marty and Dick were married in Norfolk in 1948 and, following successful career moves with Trailways Bus Lines that took them to Coral Gables, Fla., the couple raised two daughters, Judith Foster Flaherty Serpente (Jim) of Virginia Beach, and Martha Foster Sullivan (Hoke) of Montgomery, Ala.
Marty was a dedicated wife and mother with a deep and abiding love for her large family. As the only relatives living in beautiful South Florida, Marty and Dick loved opening their Coral Gables home for family visitors and she became lovingly known as the "hostess with the mostest" for organizing good-time beach and boating activities for all.
In 1986 Marty survived a severe brain aneurism that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. With medical survival odds of less than ten percent, she prevailed on the strength of her incredible spirit and Dick's uncompromising, dedicated and loving care. Although broken-hearted upon his death in 2004, Marty refused to give up, even strengthening herself enough to live independently for several years before a fall weakened her. Her beautiful smile, determination, courage and spunk, even in the midst of great challenges, will forever inspire all who knew her.
In addition to her daughters, Marty is survived by one sister, Lillian "Honey" Hinds, of Mt. Dora, Fla., three grandsons, Richard James Flaherty (Sheri) of Louisville, TN, Patrick Sean Flaherty of Virginia Beach, and Andrew Foster Ellis of Montgomery, Al.; one granddaughter, Martha Ann Ellis Hight (Wes) also of Montgomery; two great- grandchildren, Graham Foster Flaherty and Ryan Kathryn Flaherty of Louisville, TN, and many well-loved nieces and nephews.
In addition to her loving husband of 56 years, she was preceded in death by her brothers James Thompson, Frederick Thompson and William Hilton Thompson (Clarice), and her sisters Louise Foster (Alyvn) of Norfolk, Thelma Buchanan (Buck) of Tampa, Fla., Jewell Stone (Harold) of Hampton, and Katherine Havens (Robert) of Billings, Montana.
A viewing will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, followed by a funeral service at noon at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Bayside Chapel. Burial will follow immediately in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Aug. 12, 2014