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On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Martha Macklin Barksdale entered into eternal rest at Bon Secours Saint Mary's Hospital of Richmond. Born in Freeman (Brunswick County) on November 30, 1947, she was the oldest child of Ophelia Macklin Jackson. She was the step-daughter of Tab Jackson. She was reared by her grandmother, Sylvia Haskins Macklin and Moses Macklin (her uncle) in Thomasburg, a nurturing community.

At an early age, Martha accepted Christ and she joined Union Bethel Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church in Freeman. In I954, four months after the Supreme Court of the United States declared the doctrine of "separate but equal" unconstitutional, she began to attend Thomasburg Elementary School which included two rooms. In 1955, Thomasburg merged with Scott-Lewis Elementary School of Freeman. She attended Scott-Lewis for six years. In 1961, she began to attend James Solomon Russell High School of Lawrenceville, which was known for academic excellence. Martha thrived in that setting. She won second place in mathematics in a district-wide math and science fair, which was held at Northside High School of Gretna. She also became a member of the National Honor Society of James Solomon Russell High School where she graduated in 1966. Her husband-to-be, Ervin Alvin Barksdale was her classmate.

In 1966, she enrolled in Virginia State College. Thirteen of her classmates from Brunswick County including Ervin enrolled in Virginia State College that fall. At Virginia State, she was a member of the History and Political Science Club. Some of the professors at Virginia State College who highly impressed her included the late Dr. Elsie Curl Colson, Dr. Foster Payne, Dr. Dannie Starr Townes and Dr. Calvin Miller. She student taught at Maggie Lena Walker High School of Richmond. Her supervising teacher was the late Pierce Callahan, the head boys' basketball coach at Walker. In 1970, she received the Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Virginia State College.

Three months after she graduated from Virginia State College, she became the bride of her high school sweetheart, Ervin Alvin Barksdale on August 22, 1970, in a ceremony which was held at the Union Bethel Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church. In the fall of 1970, she was hired as an interviewer at the Petersburg Branch of the Virginia Employment Commission. In 1971, the Barksdales moved to Westchester County, New York, where they both served as counselors in a facility for juveniles. On May 10, 1973, the Barksdales were blessed with their first and only child, Marika.

After living in New York for two years, the Barksdales moved to Petersburg, Virginia. Martha applied for a teaching position in Dinwiddie County. Martha accepted a position as a first grade teacher at Northside Elementary School. Parents would often request her as a teacher for their children. After serving as a first grade teacher for 30 years in the Dinwiddie County Public Schools, Martha retired from Rohoic Elementary School in 2003.

Martha's cheerful demeanor endeared her to many. She was a faithful member of Tabernacle Baptist Church of Petersburg where she served as a deaconess. She also attended Mount Olivet Baptist Church of Petersburg with her daughter and granddaughters. She enjoyed visiting historic sites and museums. She also enjoyed shopping, attending plays and dining at nice restaurants. She watched Jeopardy each night. Prior to her loss of vision, she was an avid reader. In recent years, she had become an auditory learner. She was a walking book of 'knowledge" as she kept up-to-date with news, politics, movies and social events.

She was an active member of the Dinwiddie Chapter of the Virginia State University National Alumni Association as well as the United Teaching Profession - DEA, VEA and NEA. Martha loved her daughter and granddaughters dearly. She loved to share with her family and friends information about their activities and accomplishments. Her life was purpose driven.

On September 20, 2014, Ervin Alvin Barksdale, her beloved husband of 44 years died suddenly. The two of them were constant partners who navigated the joys and challenges of life. Martha's stepfather, Tab Jackson; brother, Tab (Edward) Jackson; and sister-in-law, Daisy Barksdale predeceased her.

Left to cherish her memory are her beloved and devoted daughter, Marika Barksdale Peterson of Dinwiddie; granddaughters, Indigo and Iyana Peterson of Dinwiddie; granddaughters-in-love, Jasmine Smith Wills of Colorado Springs, CO, and Imani Peterson Lee of Richmond; mother, Ophelia Macklin Jackson of Lawrenceville; three sisters, Wendy Ruiz of New York, Wysinger Jackson Cooper of Chester, and Adrienne Styles of New York; two brothers, Thomas Jackson of New Jersey and Erwin "Brad" Jackson of Lawrenceville; mother-in-law, Mabel Mays Barksdale of Lawrenceville; sister-in-law, Clara Barksdale Clinton of New Jersey; god-sons and god-daughter, sisters-in law, brothers-in law, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of devoted neighbors, friends and many devoted lifelong friends.

Service will be held 2:00 P.M. Friday, June 15, 2018, at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 418 Halifax Street, Petersburg, VA, the Rev. Dr. Robert A. Diggs, Sr, Pastor, eulogist. Interment will be private.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of the J. M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., 102 South Avenue, Petersburg, VA, (804) 732-8911,
Funeral Home
J. M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc.
102 South Avenue
Petersburg, VA 23803
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Published in The Progress-Index from June 13 to June 14, 2018
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