A Tribute to Mrs Priscilla Martin
13 June 1950 – 4 July 2017
Written by Catherine Franks.
On 4 July 2017, Mrs Priscilla Martin sadly, and unexpectedly, passed away. She was an incredibly special lady and I am not sure I am going to be able to find the words that can truly express what a kind, loving and giving person she was, but I am going to try. My heart and thoughts remain with her husband Mr Armin Martin, and with her children, Dean, Michelle and Angelo, and with her grandchildren and with the rest of her family.
Up until a few years ago, Mr and Mrs Martin used to host international volunteers and interns. I first met the Martins when I was placed in their house, whilst doing a human rights internship. Mrs Martin had an amazing way of making everyone feel welcome in her home straight away. The volunteers I met at the Martins’ house remember her as someone who was both very caring and, at the same time, as somebody who had a great sense of fun. Going to South Africa that first time, I never could have imagined that I would find family there and I am so happy that Mrs Martin became my “Cape Town Mom”. I know she was a mother figure to many others too.
Mrs Martin touched a lot of people’s lives. I saw how she was always helping others. She had a way of making anyone who went to her feel special and cared for. She was genuinely interested in other people and her warmth always shone through. When staying with her, I saw that, after meal times, she would gather uneaten food into containers to give away, as she told me that there is always someone who is hungry. She also allowed weekly food donations from a certain store to be kept at her house. This food was then distributed by Anne, the founder of the local organisation, The Future Factory. After CHW linked with Seawind Educare, a creche for disadvantaged children, Mrs Martin said I could invite the Principal of the Creche, Rita, to her house to meet her and Anne. After that, Rita was regularly given some of the food for the children at Seawind too. These are just a couple of examples of Mrs Martin’s kindness. There are many, many more, as anyone who knew her would be able to tell you.
Mrs Martin with some of the donations of food.
I have been fortunate to have had various opportunities to work on projects in Cape Town. When you are abroad, one thing you lack is a family base, but I never felt like that in South Africa, thanks to Mrs Martin. She was always welcoming and I loved spending time with her and her family. When I was not in South Africa, we would talk on the phone. I could turn to Mrs Martin any time and she would always give generously of her time and energy. She was an important person to so many, offering words of comfort, guidance and support to those who needed it. I learned a lot from Mrs Martin and always felt uplifted after speaking with her. With her wonderful sense of humour, we laughed a lot together too. She told me lots of stories about her life and I am blessed that I had the opportunity to listen to her. Mr Martin once noted that she and I would talk for hours and he was right! I miss the conversations we used to have and I know that I am far from the only one who misses the unique light she brought to this world.
A couple of years ago, when I was back in South Africa again, Mrs Martin said that she would like to visit some of the projects that CHW works with. Mr and Mrs Martin and I went to Seawind Educare and to Rooikappie Creche (a link we made through the Future Factory). The week that Mrs Martin passed away, we had made plans to visit the creches again. Rita and Faranaaz, the Principals of each creche, had been delighted when I said she wanted to visit. It is so sad that those second visits could not happen. I greatly treasure all of the memories I have of Mrs Martin.
Visiting Seawind Educare in 2015: Me, Rita, the Principal of the creche, Mrs Martin and Mr Martin.
Thank you to the Martin family for sharing this wonderful lady with us all. With her love, kindness and compassion, Mrs Martin made this world a better place. She was a blessing to all who knew her.
This tribute appeared in our newsletter on New Year’s Day. We are republishing it today, on the first anniversary of the day Mrs Martin passed away.
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