May 5,1929---February 4, 2017
Martha Swindle Braxton, a native and lifelong resident of Bonifay, Florida, died Saturday, February 4, 2017 at Saint Augustine Plantation in Tallahassee, Florida as the result of a stroke.
She was preceded in death by her son, William (Bill) Ray Braxton, Jr., her granddaughter Anna Kathleen Williams and her husband of 52 years, William Ray (WR) Braxton. She is survived by one son, Dr. Mark Braxton (Judi), daughter Margie Williams (Don), and daughter Merri Mardula. Martha had eleven grandchildren, Heather Mendenhall (Matt), Dr. Ben Saunders (Melissa), Amy O’Brien (John), Rachael Loukonen (John), Danielle Blackburn (Ben), Donald Williams (Marisa) Ben Bennett, Anthony Bennett (Danielle), Annie Braxton, and Bill Braxton. She also leaves behind fourteen great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and friends.
Martha was the fifth child of Jesee C. and Eva Lois Kelly Swindle who died four days after giving birth to Martha. Her Father owned and operated the Holmes County Hardware store in Bonifay as well as the ice house and Hoover’s Mill. Her late siblings were Kelly F Swindle, Mary Sue Parker, Jesse C. Swindle, Marguerite Lois Holland and step-brother James McFatter. After Martha’s husband Ray was severely injured in an accident in 1956 she saw the importance of providing for their children’s future. That tenacity enabled her to attend college while still providing for her children as she became a teacher. Teaching was her passion and her joy was seeing students exceed their own expectations. When former students grew up and returned to thank her it made her world complete. Martha never stopped teaching her whole life long. She taught children, grandchildren, and friends. Martha took pride in her hard-earned Master’s degree from Florida State University.
Martha was known for sharing and helping anyone that might have need throughout the community. Her generosity included cooking for others, sewing, tutoring, babysitting, her homemade preserves, shelled pecans and anything she grew in her beautiful yards. There was nothing that she couldn’t do and do beautifully. She was an expert in quilting, embroidery, and crochet. She could play any instrument by ear and found great joy in singing in church with her natural alto voice.
Her Rodeo sidewalk and endless chili was almost as legendary as her card playing skills (or, some would argue score keeping) and people drove for miles for her chicken and dumplings, lace cornbread and green “huzzy salad” (as her brother Jess called it).Her resilient spirit, genuine and generous heart will be greatly missed by all the lives she touched.
The family is extremely grateful to the staff at Saint Augustine Plantation for the exceptional care and love given to Martha and family during her stay there.
A celebration of Martha’s life was held at Marianna Chapel Funeral Home on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. with the internment following at the Bonifay Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the funeral.
Marianna Chapel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Expressions of sympathy may be submitted online at www.mariannachapelfh.com.