Martha Ross Isn't Slowing DownBy ELISA MAYO,
Martha Hunter Ross was born and raised in Enterprise, Mississippi as one of four children born to Nathan Hunter and Johnnie Pearl DeBruce Hunter. Her father passed away when she was six years old and she watched her mother care for four children, putting them all through college. “My mother also put herself through college. She was a public school teacher and when my father died there were four children ranging in age from 1 to 7. Through her efforts to raise us as a single parent, she inspired me.”
She remembers many afternoons spent in her mother’s classroom, playing with friends, and “helping mom decorate the room, staple, and arrange books.” Martha went on to become a teacher herself and says of the career, “It is the most dignified, challenging, and rewarding profession on earth because of its ability to shape lives.” Martha attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, MS and taught for forty years, her first job being at Shirley-Owens High School in Quitman, MS.
Her most memorable job was working as youth director for First Enterprise Congress of Christian Education, “I watched the program grow from a half day workshop with 24 junior high and senior high youth in attendance to a two-day workshop with over 400 in attendance.”
Now, she is retired, but busy. This reporter had a difficult time catching up with her. She likes to read, travel, and work on service projects. She has traveled to forty of the fifty states in the USA, as well as, Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica. She celebrated her 75th birthday in Hawaii with her children and family. Her latest trip was a cruise to the Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the British West Isles. In addition, she is president of the Women's Auxiliary of Old Enterprise Baptist Church. Martha enjoys working with projects that reach out to those in her community. She implements the bereavement baskets, designs inspirational cards to send to the military, elderly, and shut-ins. She also organizes caregiver luncheons and workshops and canning workshops. If that isn’t enough to keep her busy, Martha is a life-member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and serves as chairman of a global impact committee that gathers used shoes for Soles4Souls. She also assists in gathering eyeglasses for Lions International and has sewing sessions to make pillowcase dresses for girls in foreign countries.
Martha has three children with Alfred R. Ross, who she married December 27, 1964. One son, Robert, lives in Enterprise. Alfred DeBruce lives in Atlanta, Georgia and daughter, Rosalind, lives in San Diego, California. As a mother she says, “I tried to teach my children to be God-fearing stewards and citizens, to treat all people with respect, to be upright and honest, to live a life of service, to give back to the community and to daily walk humbly with God.” Each day, Martha rises early and texts her children a biblical message while she is reading and meditating.
At this time of year, while she surely reflects on her upcoming wedding anniversary with Alfred who has passed away, she also fondly remembers many Christmas’ past. One of her favorite Christmas memories involves her mother, “I remember listening to mom read from the Bible the story of Jesus’ birth, drinking hot chocolate, playing Christmas songs on the piano, and singing Christmas carols.” This year, her Christmas wish is “to see peace and goodwill prevailing throughout the world.”