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Donna's Story

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Donna Griffith Martin entered her eternal home on May 4, 2017, in Gastonia, North Carolina, where she resided with her beloved husband of 41 years, Robert E. Martin.
Donna deeply loved her family and leaves behind many to cherish her memory including brothers-in-law Bob Plutro (deceased wife, Susan Martin Plutro), Fairmont, Andy Martin and wife Millie, Boardman, Ohio, Ellouise Martin (deceased husband John J. "Jack" Martin), Seaford, Delaware, Mike Martin, Gastonia, North Carolina, Paul Martin and wife Caryn, Boardman, Ohio; and sister-in-law, Mary Martin Blashford and husband David, Charleston.
Donna's "mothering" nature was very apparent in love shown to her many nieces and nephews, including Michael John, Robbie and Cindy Plutro, Vicki Martin Hudson, Jimmy Martin and Missy Martin Spaniol, John and Laura Martin, Stephanie Wagner and Katelyn Rose Grant.
She also cherished her special cousin, Lois Ann Vangilder Smith.
One year ago youngest niece Katelyn (Katie) Grant and husband Ben chose to move their family to Gastonia, North Carolina, to be close to "Aunt Donna" and Uncle Bob. As a result of almost daily visits from Katie's and Ben's children, Isabella, age 5, Bradley, age 3, and Aubrey, age 11 months, "Aunt Donna" spent the final year of her life smiling and filled with the joy only children can bring.
Donna grew up in the Norwood section of Fairmont, where she was lovingly nurtured by her mother Virginia and her grandparents John and Hazel Markley, who owned and operated the Markley Grocery for many years.
She graduated from East Fairmont High School in 1970 and earned her bachelor's degree from Fairmont State College in 1975 with degrees in journalism and English. She used her degree wisely while working at Strawbridge Studios from 1995-2003 as a yearbook editor. Strawbridge Studios was a family-owned business, and Donna soon became a favorite of the Strawbridge family. She maintained close contact with the family long after she left the company to move to her Gastonia residence.
Donna had many artistic talents. She loved to cross stitch, knit, scrapbook, journal and write. Her favorite pastime, however, was gift giving. She would spend hours picking out the perfect personalized gift for a loved one. Then she would painstakingly wrap the gift to a perfect size, shape and color. Her greatest pleasure came from giving the receiver a gift that always brought a huge smile from all who received her generosity.
Her generosity and kindness were also evident in the way she treated her much-loved pets. Through the years, she always had at least one dog and a cat in her home. She also spent many hours on Facebook trying to aid in finding homes for shelter or lost animals.
Donna loved Facebook and spent time rekindling friendships and encouraging and supporting those who were lucky enough to call her friend. Her circle of friends was extremely large with her closest circle consisting of two high school and lifetime friends, Jennifer Onderko Rakocky and Marlena Smith Maynard; she also lovingly appreciated her dear friend and sometimes caregiver Lori Vangilder Hammond. She will be deeply missed by them and so many more.
Visitation in memory of Donna will be held from 7-9 p.m. today and 9-10 a.m. Friday at the Ross Funeral Home, 801 Fairmont Ave., Fairmont. A memorial service will follow at the funeral home at 10 a.m. Friday, with Father Jojan Joseph of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church presiding. Burial will follow at Beverly Hills Memorial Gardens in Westover. A dinner is being held at the Immaculate Conception Church Parish Hall following the burial.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Donna's memory may be sent to the Donna Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund which Bob Martin is establishing to assist Katelyn Grant's children in obtaining a secure college education. You can send checks made out to the Donna Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund to 2806 Gaston Day School Road, Gastonia, NC 28056.
Published on May 11, 2017
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