MARTIN, MARY LOU, 83, died suddenly in Red Wing, MN on Sunday April 7, 2013.

Lou was born in Wallins Creek in Harlan County, KY, to Ollie C. and Reva Allgood. She was a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, TN and Berea College. Her early childhood in Harlan County formed the setting for her novel "Above the Slate," published by the Jesse Stuart Foundation in 2002. Lou was the author of numerous other short stories and poetry. As a longtime Kentucky state government employee she worked as a publicist and writer for the Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies.

Outside of her professional life, Lou was an advocate for many causes, including environmental issues, senior citizens, and civil rights. On the day Lou died, she drafted a card to her Minnesota State Representative saying, "I support the freedom to marry for loving and committed same-sex couples because the constitution requires that we treat everyone equally." To her children and their spouses Lou was a role model and friend. She developed a close and loving relationship with each of her grandchildren and leaves good memories with all.

Lou is the widow of Galen Martin. She is survived by her children, Robert (Kate Abell), New York, David (Rhonda Bonds), Louisville and Julie (Jeff Chalmers), Red Wing; her brothers, Wilburn, Kingsport, Don, Lebanon, VA, Owen, Kingsport and Jerry, Albuquerque NM; 11 grandchildren; and one great grandchild. She lived in Frankfort, KY, Louisville, Albuquerque and most recently in Red Wing, MN.

Lou's last act of giving was to donate herself to the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. A June memorial service is being planned.

Contributions may be made to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, P.O. Box 1450, London, KY 40743, or Kentucky Women Writers Conference 232 E. Maxwell St. Lexington, KY 40506.

Published in The Courier-Journal on Apr. 12, 2013