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1942 Martha Llewellyn Jones Willis 2024

Martha Llewellyn Jones Willis

June 21, 1942 — January 24, 2024

Nashville, TN

        Martha “Markey” Llewellyn Jones Willis died peacefully on January 24, 2024, of complications related to Alzheimer’s. 

        Martha was born June 21, 1942, in Swain County, North Carolina, to Private John and Reva (DeBord) Jones. Martha spent her formative years in Western North Carolina before exploring New York, West Virginia, and Indiana, landing in Nashville in 1998.

        Possessing a degree in clarinet performance, Martha taught in many different settings including the beginning of the Head Start program in the 1970s, private music lessons, and in schools and other programs.

        She was always a performer, whether music or plays, and was a staunch social justice advocate, protesting against wars and for humanitarian causes. She was able to segue her performance skills into presenting Alternatives to Violence (AVP) workshops in Nashville area schools and jails. Even when battling Alzheimer’s, Martha would set up imaginary AVP workshops in her living room and make presentations.

        Martha is preceded in death by her parents and her son, John Burgess Whitehurst Willis. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, John “Jack” Willis; daughters, Eleanor “Elly” Willis Haddad (David) and Lillian Willis (Jerry Morrison); grandchildren, Sarah Haddad Cothran (Shawn), Rebecca Haddad, Phil Haddad (Jesse), Jamie Boeskool, Jackson Boeskool, and Amilie Boeskool; great-grandchildren, Ransom, Auggie, Eisley, Nora, Victor, and Hazel; sisters, Linda Morris and Barbara Butcher; and close cousin, Nancy DeBord.

        A celebration of Martha’s life will be on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at WO Smith Music School, 1125 8th Avenue South, Nashville. Visitation will be from 3-4pm with service from 4-5pm. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of the following: 


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