Martha Nelson Thomas
FUNERAL HOME
Pearson Funeral Home
149 Breckenridge Lane
Louisville, KY
THOMAS, MARTHA NELSON, 62, of Louisville, died on May 26, 2013 peacefully at home surrounded by family. She had been battling ovarian cancer.

Martha was a self-employed artist whose work emphasized the importance of families and the joy of childhood. She was one of the first people in this region to employ the technique known as soft sculpture. In the 1970's and 80's her hand crafted Doll Babies were sold around the country and helped inspire the Cabbage Patch Dolls. Children and adults alike invited these dolls into their homes and corresponded regularly with Momma Martha.

Martha worked with children in schools and workshops, teaching them sewing, quilting and weaving while helping them find their own creative spark. Through her DELvelopment Foundation she helped fund art in schools and aided aspiring artists. Martha was a graduate of the Louisville School of Art, and a former member of the Kentucky Guild of Artist and Craftsmen.

A native of Mayfield, KY, Martha was preceded in death her parents, Ralph and Helen Ernestine Nelson; and brothers, Jim and Bill Nelson.

She is survived by her husband, Tucker Thomas and their children, Seth, Carl and Mara Thomas. She is also survived by her brothers and sisters, Mary Ruth Elder (Donald), Pat Nelson, Ann Carr (Howel), and Ernie Nelson of Mayfield, as well as Albert Nelson (Penny) of Louisville.

On Friday May 31, 2013 after a private burial at Cave Hill Cemetery, the family will be welcoming visitors at Pearson's Funeral Home, 149 Breckinridge Lane from 4 to 8 p.m. People are also invited to attend a memorial service and reception held in her honor at Highland Presbyterian Church, 1011 Cherokee Road on Saturday June 1, 2013 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Louisville School of Art Alumni Scholarship Fund, c/o Meghan Greenwell, Kentucky School of Art, 845 S. Third St., Louisville, 40203; or "Martha's Squad" rid ing for Bike to Beat Cancer at biketobeatcancer.org.



Published by Courier-Journal from May 29 to May 31, 2013.
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31 Entries
Her Doll babies will forever hold a place in my heart mine was my first CPK I ever had when my mom couldn't afford the CPK. My doll that I originally had is long gone. I have mad one since witha cpk body and the doll baby head. i want to find more of them and make them.
dawn walters
September 3, 2013
I was very saddened to hear of Martha's passing...It is because of her that I came to realize that creativity is art....May her family know the people she inspired..
Suzi Pyles
August 15, 2013
I was looking for Martha to tell her about a crochet pattern on "Crochet Crowd" that is a hat that made a little girl look like one of her dolls.
I am so sorry to hear of her passing. I talked to her about a year ago and sent her a picture of Matthew 4/29/1977. Matthew said he was sorry too
Cindy Drinkwater
June 19, 2013
I will miss you so much my Aunt Martha, I can't imagine not having our weekly talks. I know your up in heaven making dollies for all the little children taken too soon as you were. Love always,
Russell
June 5, 2013
Bernadette Rule
June 2, 2013
Bernadette Rule
June 2, 2013
Bernadette Rule
June 2, 2013
Bernadette Rule
June 2, 2013
I remember meeting Martha the first time she showed her dolls at Berea Fair. George and I were so charmed by them and by the creative and gentle spirit Martha had. Through the years, her work never ceased to delight me. I treasure the memory of knowing her.
Jackie Engle
June 1, 2013
My Martha Nelson Thomas collection, with the baby doll wearing my daughter's baby dress and pants. I was 40 years old before I realized that all my sewing passion was creative art. Thank you Martha. What a joy to have had Martha and Tucker as life long friends. Sending prayers, love, and sympathy to all the family.
Ginny Sims
June 1, 2013
Tucker, I am deeply sorry to hear of Martha's passing. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Laura Cummins
May 31, 2013
I am so sorry to learn of Martha's passing. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with her and to honor her wishes with the DELvelopment Foundation funds. She was a warm and generous lady and my heart and thoughts are with her family and friends today.
Sally Newkirk
May 31, 2013
Tucker and family, it is with a heavy heart I read about Martha's death. Although we never kept close touch over the years, I always loved seeing her at fairs. Her gifts were many and I know that she will be dearly missed. She brought to the world and to her family an important light. May the love you shared continue to nurture you all as you move through these days of celebrating a life well lived. love, your old Highland preschool carpool buddy, Cynthia Changaris
May 30, 2013
What wonderful childhood memories I will always have of my time with Martha and the whole Thomas family.
Kimberly Loeffler Karcher
May 30, 2013
What wonderful memories I will always have of spending time with Martha and the whole Thomas family.
Kimberly Loeffler Karcher
May 30, 2013
Tucker,
So saddened to hear of your wife's passing.
The Blood Bank at Norton's gave me one of her dolls at least 30 years ago. I still have it and will treasure it more.
You and your family are in my prayers.
Mary Winkler-Payton
Mary Winkler-Payton
May 30, 2013
My heart goes out to you, Tucker and all the family. I know that "Love Will Guide You". You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Betty Hansel
May 30, 2013
Tucker,
I am so sorry for your loss. Martha was such a great lady.
Cindie Terzo
May 30, 2013
A very sweet customer of mine. My niece, who is 43 years old still has her Martha Nelson doll. What a great loss to the art world! Our thoughts are with her family!
J Hildebran
May 30, 2013
Martha was one of Kentucky's best creative artists who inspired and influenced many people. She inspired me during our LSA years with her hard edge paintings. Thank you Martha. All of us from those LSA days thank you.
Art Orr
May 29, 2013
Martha was as sweet as they come! Always kind and pleasant. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Tucker, Seth, Carl and Mara. Sincerely Jack, Teddi and Jackson Twombly
May 29, 2013
Our heart felt sympathy goes out to All of Martha's Family where ever they may be . We know she was so loved & will be greatly missed. May you all cherish your own special happy
Memories with Martha to help you all during this difficult time. You are in our thoughts & prayers ... May God Bless & Bring Comfort to You All Lots of love
Candy Gary & Sarah Glenn
May 29, 2013
Heidi Armstrong
May 29, 2013
Martha was a fabulous artist. I could look at her tent filled with her soft sculpture dolls for hours at the Berea Arts & Crafts fair in the 1970s. I am lucky to have one doll from that era and another baby from Completely Kentucky, bought years later. RIP.
Heidi Armstrong
May 29, 2013
Martha was an artist in her soul and I was lucky enough to have had her as a lifelong friend. Part of a large, loving, creative family in our hometown of Mayfield, Martha always made and shared her art. She was passionate and graceful in good times and bad. We are--I am--much poorer without her.

Love and prayers to all her family.
Bernadette Rule
May 29, 2013
She was such a special lady. I will always remember her kindness and love.
Debbie Nelson
May 29, 2013
Tucker-Reading Martha's obit this morning, has left me with a heavy heart.
I'm so sorry you have to travel that long, sad road.
I'll never hear the words Cabbage Patch without thinking about her.
My thoughts are with you, Carl, Seth and Mara.
God Bless. JoAnn Nichols
May 29, 2013
She was one of Kentucky's great artists and will be missed.
Philis Alvic
May 29, 2013
Martha was such a sweetie and we will miss her presence among us. My daughter will hug her doll, Jasmine, a little harder today! Jasmine was "born" in the 80's before Cabbage Patch and traded for at a craft fair.
Rebekka Seigel
May 29, 2013
I fondly remember Martha from those Guild fairs at the Indian Fort Theater many years ago. So sweet, honest kind and gentle. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
Wayne Ferguson
May 29, 2013
My prayers and thoughts go out to the family. I know she will be missed by all who knew her and her work. I worked with Tucker and Seth. A very special HUG goes out to you both.
Joyce Rogers
May 29, 2013
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