Dr. Bertha M. Martin was born in Pulaski, Tennessee on April 5, 1926. She spent her youth in Selma, Alabama and Baltimore, Maryland and she attended Howard University as an undergraduate and Howard Dental School. She also studied pediatric dentistry at the University of Michigan. She practiced dentistry in Wilmington, California, Berkely, California and Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles she married and welcomed her precious daughter Beryl LaVert into the world.
In 1967 she moved back to Washington, DC and is believed to be the first Black pediatric dentist in the District. For five decades she also taught part time at Howard Dental School and started the pediatric dental program at Howard. Also for five decades she has been a faithful and devoted member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where she was the chair of the Alter Guild and the Sacristy bears her name. She insisted that everyone call her “Bertha” and she was quick to make friends. Indeed if Bertha was your friend, you had a friend for life. She loved her friends deeply and nurtured the relationships. During her childhood she spent summers in Cape May, New Jersey. She loved Cape May and spent several weeks there every summer. She also loved to travel and she took many trips to Africa and Europe. Bertha collected owls because they are wise and her collection is extensive.
She was well read and loved to debate anyone on almost any topic. She also loved playing bridge and played at least a couple of times a week. Further she loved the theatre and good food, and was always looking for a new recipe or restaurant. Bertha also previously served on the Board of Trustees at Dean Junior College and Burgundy Farm Country Day School, schools that Beryl attended.
Her beloved Beryl predeceased her but she is survived by friends and relatives who love her dearly. They include: Yvonne Hamilton, Frances Bumbrey (Joe), Kim Williams, Anthony G. Martin, Cheryl M. Napper, George Keith Martin (Anita), Michael Brown (Liz), Elizabeth Bradley (Doug), Stephen “Skipper” Brown, Jr. (Caroline), Terry Driver, Adam Driver (Jennifer), Fritz Henn, Ursula Williams, Debra Jeffries Hoggard (Paul), and Dale Allen.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Beryl LaVert Martin Scholarship Fund at Bennington College (One College Drive, Bennington, VT 05201-6003, or Plannedgiving.Bennington.edu).
The memorisl service will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/wearestmarks/videos
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