Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Martha Adeline Johnson Hartsell

Martha Adeline Johnson Hartsell, age 93, passed away peacefully December 10,2020.  The trumpets played and the angles sang the clarion call for her to come home.

Martha was the daughter of the late Harley Sherman and Alice Britt Johnson.  She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Jacob Brown Hartsell and her grandson, Jonathan Branch Lawson.
Martha was the sixth child in a family of seven children, all of whom, have passed away: Harley S, Johnson, Jr., Elizabeth (Everett)Sparks, Robert (Doris) Johnson, Samuel Lee (Kate) Johnson, Dorothy Johnson and Ramona (Gus) Gouge. To have grown up in a family like theirs was the best they would say. They loved one another, looked after one another and wanted to be together. Their lives together were sprinkled with celebrations, picnics, boating and fishing on Watauga Lake, working in their parent’s huge vegetable gardens and days spent canning and sharing nature’s bounty.

Martha is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Alice and Dr. James Green, Louisville, TN., one son, David Hartsell, Erwin.  She loved and adored her grandchildren: Jacob B. Lawson (Sumer), Mary Alice Bowen (Brian), and Jonathan Hartsell.  She is also survived by three great-grandchildren: Hank Bowen, Andrew Bowen and Piper Lawson.
All of whom brought her much pride and joy. Martha, or Aunt Martha, was loved and honored by her many nieces and nephews who visited her, sent cards and joined in the many celebrations of her life.
Martha was born in Erwin on February 19, 1927. She attended Martin’s Chapel School and Unicoi County High School where she was a cheerleader and on the girls’ basketball team.  After high school she attended Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, VA.

She was a graduate of ETSU with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work.  Martha would say that one of things she was most proud of was her education.  An avid reader, she loved books and the joy of learning new things.

Martha was a resident of Governor’s Bend Assisted Living, Erwin.  Her home for the past eight years, she would often say, “I love my home here and the wonderful people who take care of me. What a blessing to be loved and cared for by so many.”
Words of heartfelt gratitude to the amazing Governor’s Bend staff, nurses and aides, and, too, Amedisys Care, particularly Becky Bennett for her compassion and loving care.
Martha was a lifelong member of the First Christian Church, Erwin. Her family church where she and her siblings were raised, and where she raised her children and grandchildren.  She was a member of the Hope Circle which embodied her attitude of “you should always have hope.”.  Her church family often visited her, wrote her notes of encouragement and delivered communion.

As a young woman, Martha, worked as a buyer in the children’s department of Unaka Store.  A job she had so many fond memories of because it gave her an opportunity to travel to New York and stay at the Waldorf-Astoria on buying trips for the department store.  In the 1950’s she was one of the first to be hired by the then Davidson Chemical plant—later Nuclear Fuels Services as an executive assistant.  After completing her degree at ETSU she worked at the Senior Citizens Center in Johnson City until her retirement in 1999.  Martha loved her many career opportunities. She took great pride in always wanting to do a good job for whomever she worked for. Martha always dressed beautifully and professionally, topped off by her signature Revlon red lipstick.

Due to the Covid-19 there will not be a formal visitation, but family and friends may come by Robert Ledford Funeral Home Monday, December 14, 2020 from 12:00 Noon until 4:00 PM to view and sign the register.

Graveside service will be held at 1:00 PM Tuesday, December 15, 2020 under the portico of the Evergreen Mausoleum. Rev. Todd Edmonson will officiate. Music will be provided by Damaris Higgins. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. James Green, Fred Sparks, Scott Johnson, Keith Gouge, Jacob Lawson, and Jonathan Hartsell. Everyone is asked to meet at the cemetery by 12:55 PM Tuesday. Due to Covid-19 please wear a facemask, and practice social distancing for the safety of the family and those attending.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to First Christian Church 307 S Main Ave., Erwin, TN 37650 or the charity of your choice.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Hartsell family at

Robert Ledford Funeral Home, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Hartsell family.  (423) 743-1380.