Ann Guthrie Martin was a longtime Bradley County educator, most remembered for her term of service as the county’s supervisor of Elementary Education. She later volunteered her time at the nursing home, was named to the BHRC board of directors in 1995, and served as the board’s chairman from 2004 until 2008.
She stepped down from her board responsibilities in 2010 because of health reasons, was later a patient at the county-owned facility and passed away just over a year ago, in March of 2011.
BHRC comptroller Sandy Brock, a friend of Martin many years ago prior to her service at the nursing home, coordinated Sunday’s brief program and was the first to pay tribute to her old friend. “We did many, many things here when she was on the board,” Brock said. “It is nice to have her family, friends, former teachers and BHRC staff here for this special event.”
Ronnie Guthrie, her brother and one of 16 family members from out of town who came to visit Sunday, also memorialized his sister. “All of the things you’ve said in fond remembrance here today (that she was strict and stern), she practiced on me,” Guthrie said.
“This means so much to our family,” Martin’s brother continued. “She had a huge goal as a child,” he continued. “She wanted to be a devoted Christian. She worked many years to take care of our mother, and I just want to thank you for honoring her.”
Dr. John Stanbery, current chairman of the BHRC board, paid tribute to his predecessor. “Mrs. Martin was a rock on the board, when I first came on,” he said. “She was for the residents, for the facility and she guided the board.”
Stanbery added, “We disagreed at times, but you never doubted where her heart and mind was. We’re honored to have had her with this facility, and we’re proud to have this memorial to her.”
Josephine Frazier, who has been a member of the board since 1990, acknowledged that she had known Martin for many years. “I appreciated her very much,” she said.
Bradley County Commissioner Bill Winters and a BHRC board member said his relationship with Martin goes back more than 40 years. “I met her in 1971, when she was an educator and gave me my first job,” said the former teacher and principal. “She left us a great legacy, in education and at BHRC.
“We’re proud to leave this memorial to her, and we appreciate all of her family and friends for being here today,” added Winters.
Sandra Snider, who followed Martin as chair of the BHRC board, said it was a challenge to follow her in that capacity. “I benefited from that and she was an amazing person,” the former chair said.
Erin Fuller, who replaced Martin on the BHRC board, said her mother once worked with the honoree in education. “I’ve had the honor to step into her shoes, but they are very big shoes,” she said.
Marian Kelly is a longtime teacher, and also said a few words. “I was in the school system for 40 years, at Charleston when Ann Martin was elementary supervisor,” she said. “There was always a rumor roaming around the school when she came to visit. She was known to be very strict, but we always got along. I respected her greatly.”
Martin’s two brothers (Rush and Ronnie Guthrie) attended Sunday’s program with their wives, Sandra and Patti.
Also in attendance were a number of nieces, nephews and their children. They included Robby Guthrie and Reid Guthrie, Dawn Benjamine and her husband, Bob; Scott Guthrie and his wife, Elisa; Josh Guthrie and his wife, Carolyn, and their son Adam; Jill McAnally and her husband, Michael, and son Brookes.