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Martin BURRELL Obituary
Martin O. Burrell, age 88 of Hiawassee, GA died on March 13, 2014. He was born in Atlanta in 1925, the son of the late Henry Grady Burrell and Sarah Ethel Woodring of Towns County, GA. Mr. Burrell is survived by his wife of sixty-seven years, Jennie Tallman Burrell, three children: Alvin, Eric and Alice (James) and three grandchildren. Raised in Atlanta's West End, Burrell graduated in 1943 from Boys High. He served as a combat engineer in Europe during World War II. While in combat, he sustained injuries resulting in partial amputations of both legs. Burrell rose to the forefront of an unofficial movement to show other double amputees that work, marriage and children were still possible despite devastating injuries. After rehabilitation, Burrell returned to Georgia with his wife in 1946, attending Young Harris College, then earning his bachelor and master's (1951) degrees in mathematics at Emory University. His first position was teaching mathematics with the Air Force in Warner Robins. He was featured in the local paper for climbing three flights of stairs daily to reach his classroom. This attitude carried Burrell through fifty-five years of putting on his artificial legs, as others put on shoes, then going to work and about his community responsibilities and personal interests. In 1957, he accepted a position at Lockheed in Marietta where the primary focus of his research became radiation shielding. In 1961, Burrell sought a role in America's space program at NASA in Huntsville, AL. He advanced to Chief for the Radiation Analysis Branch of the Particle and Applied Physics Division of the Space Sciences Laboratory. His research addressed questions of radiation shielding for astronauts and equipment during early manned missions and studies in solar electric propulsion were used in later space exploration. Burrell received numerous awards and honors and gave presentations at scientific conventions in both America and Europe. His personal story was published in the pamphlet, "Reward for Courage" issued by the Civil Service Commission in 1970. Burrell was honored by the state of Alabama in 1973, for providing "example and encouragement for all persons." Leaving NASA in 1975, Burrell moved to his family's home in Towns County, GA taking a position at Tri-County Community College in Murphy, NC, becoming the head of the Mathematics Department. He was also involved in the local community. In 1984, he was elected Treasurer of Towns County. He also served as a county Tax Equalizer and terms as a member of the Hospital Authority and the Planning Board. A member of the Union Hill United Methodist Church, Burrell was the church treasurer. Funeral services for Mr. Burrell were held on Sunday, March 16, 2014, at the chapel of Banister Funeral Home in Hiawassee, GA
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Mar. 27, 2014
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