NEVILS, Ga. – Edsel Deweese Martin passed away peacefully March 8, 2019, in his home in Nevils, Georgia. Surrounded by loved ones, he departed this life just a month before his 91st birthday.
Leaving a legacy of contributions to the farming and educational communities of Bulloch County, Deweese will be remembered as a resilient man who loved animals, history, airplanes, and travel. He never truly retired and was constant in his passionate pursuit of new ideas and ventures.
Deweese was born April 1, 1928, to Charlie James “CJ” Martin and Gladys Deloach Martin in his childhood home in Nevils, Georgia, where his daughter Gladys now resides. One of six children, Deweese and his family were members of Nevils United Methodist Church.
When Deweese graduated from Nevils High School in 1945, his diploma had been signed by his own father, CJ Martin, who served on the Board of Education. Deweese would later follow in his father’s footsteps by serving on the Bulloch County Board of Education starting in 1996.
After high school, Deweese attended the University of Georgia for a year and then returned to Bulloch County to attended Georgia Teachers College (now called Georgia Southern University), graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor’s degree in Science. In that same year, Deweese married Madelyn Newman and began a year of teaching in Pearson, Georgia. He then began farming with his father and started a family.
In the 1960’s, Deweese taught school in Savannah, Statesboro and Claxton. A lifelong learner, he also earned his Master’s Degree in Education—fourteen years after receiving his Bachelor’s.
He returned to farming again in the late 1960’s. He raised thousands of hogs and also grew tobacco, soybeans, and peanuts for many years.
In 1989, Deweese began establishing Old Happy Sod Farm. He operated the farm with his oldest son Chuck while attending evening classes at GSU towards a degree in school administration and his six-year science certificate. His youngest son David now continues to run the turf farm and has renamed it Martin Turf.
Somewhere between farming, teaching, and serving on the Board of Education, Deweese also earned his pilot’s license and owned three planes in his lifetime.
Never content to rest on his laurels, Deweese continued to work well into his later years. Most recently, he remodeled his home in Nevils and made it into an assisted living facility called Indigo Personal Care Home.
Deweese will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 30 years, Rosemarie Miquiabas-Realiza Martin, and his nine children: Joyce M. James, Pamela (Steve) Cummings, Gladys M. (Nesto) Pagan, Chuck (Tessa) Martin, Anna (Jeremy Moir) Martin, David (Sara) Martin, Bryan (Dane Yarbrough) Realiza, Shannon (Nick) Holland, and Megan (Steven) Harris.
He will also be fondly remembered by his 20 grandchildren: Tonya Hartman, Glenn James, Beth Smith, Melissa Herndon, Matthew Smith, Raegan Smith, Rebecca Blumenthal, Tommy Hall, Karla Upshaw, Charlie Martin, Jon Martin, Sarah Martin, Tallulah Moir, Forest Moir, Kyler Martin, Jacob Martin, Sawyer Martin, Jack Martin, Jade Harris and Liam Harris, as well as his 17 great- grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, a daughter Lavenia Martin Smith, granddaughter Madelyn Martin, son-in-law Ernest Pagan, two sisters and three brothers.
Visitation will be held Sunday, March 10, 2019 from 4:00 pm until 7:00pm at Nevils United Church.
The funeral service will be on Monday at 11:00 with Reverend Tab Smith officiating. The body will lie-in-state one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be in the church cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Charlie Martin, Jon Martin, Kyler Martin, Jacob Martin, Matthew Smith, Glenn James and Travis Lowman.
Memorial contributions may be given to Nevils United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund at 2000 Fronies Circle, Brooklet Georgia 30415.
Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson .com.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory in Statesboro is in charge of arrangements.
Statesboro Herald, March 10, 2019
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