Martha Price Leese

Published 11:33 am Monday, January 8, 2024

Dec. 26, 1923 – Jan. 6, 2024

Martha Elizabeth Price Leese passed away Sat., Jan. 6, at 100 years of age.

Born Dec. 26, 1923, Martha arrived as the first child of Joseph Duncan and Bertie Mae Harrell Price of Claiborne County. As the oldest child and only sister of four brothers, Martha spent much time corralling and taking care of her siblings.

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She grew up on a farm in rural Claiborne County during post WWI, the Roaring 20’s, the Great Depression, and WWII. She said life was good, but it was hard; however, they never went hungry. Her Daddy always had a garden and there were plenty of farm animals. She recalled the neighbors bringing corn to their house for her father to grind into meal. His pay for grinding was a portion of the meal. They also raised Louisiana sugar cane and made syrup. She always felt special since most people only had sorghum.

She also remembered being in charge of four very rowdy brothers. She would have to bathe the boys when they were little. The old tin bath tub was in a grassy area of their yard where it could be warmed by the sun. She would start with the oldest brother, get him clean and put him on the porch while she bathed the next. By the time the last brother was bathed, the others were back in the yard getting dirty… these were very fond memories that brought laughter and a sparkle to Martha’s eyes.

She graduated from Port Gibson High School and went on to earn her RN degree from Memphis Tennessee School of Nursing, after which she served in the Nursing Corps.

One day at work, a co-worker asked if she would like to write to a nice young man in the service. She agreed and wrote her first letter. Soon after, she received a response asking who was writing, so she wrote back and told him all about herself. That nice young man was Grady Webster Leese. For the next year, while Grady was in training in the Army Air Corps, they wrote. When his training was complete, he returned to Vicksburg where they finally met face to face. He soon was transferred overseas and they continued to write while he served as a B-24 Heavy Bomber Pilot in the Army Air Corps during WW2. He arrived home on June 8, 1945, and they were married June 9, 1945, at Bowmar Baptist Church in Vicksburg. While Grady completed his civil engineering degree, they resided in Starkville and then moved to Pine Bluff, Ark. In April 1946, they welcomed Thelma Annamarylis Leese into their family.

Grady, Martha, and Anna returned to Vicksburg where Grady was employed with Waterways Experiment Station and Martha was a nurse. It was there they welcomed David Lane Leese in November 1949, and Allan Neal Leese in October 1952. Their beautiful family was complete!

Martha and Grady became active members of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where Grady later served as deacon and elder and Martha was involved in all church events. In addition, both Martha and Grady were very active in many historical societies, photography clubs, RV travel groups, genealogical societies, and in repairing the clock on top of the Old Courthouse Museum. Where you saw one of them, the other was close by (even at the top of the clock tower!). Although there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, Martha and Grady came as close as two people could.

Grady was a loving and devoted husband for 62 years until his death in June 2007. His memory resides in every toll of the clock on top of the Old Courthouse Museum.

Martha remained an active member of the Ashmead Chapter of the DAR and was often in attendance at the many historical events happening in Vicksburg. She had such an appreciation for her family, friends, and neighbors who have helped her throughout the years. Their care has allowed her to remain in the home she and Grady loved so much. Although her sight had dimmed, her vision of the future, determination, independence, and love kept her going as she focused on what she could do to better the world around her.

Martha was preceded in death by her parents, Duncan and Bert; her husband, Grady; daughter, Anna Fuller; granddaughter, Kimberly Michelle Leese; and brothers, Johnny M. Price, Sherrill Price (Louise), and Joseph Duncan Price Jr. (Rose Marie).

Martha is survived by her sons, David, with wife Carla, and Allan, with wife Joan; devoted son-in-law, Edd Fuller; brother, Donald Price, with wife Jane; sister in law, Nina Price; granddaughter, Tiffany Leese Luke; grandson, Christopher Leese; great granddaughter, Ali Grace Luke; and great grandsons, Logan Leese and Payton Price, with wife Emily; numerous nieces and nephews to include two special nieces with whom Martha established a particularly close bond, Dorothy Rushing, with husband Jerry, and Charlotte Freeman, with husband Mark.

Pallbearers: Gordon Sluis, Charlie Lutz, Al Mashburn, Phil Kirk, Danny McPherson and Terry Warren.

Honorary Pallbearers are: Martin Pace, Robert E. Abraham, Glen Randall and Clyde Posey, Jr.

The family would like to thank 24/7 Caregivers and ArdenCares Hospice for their personal and professional treatment of Martha while in their care.

Martha requested any remembrance be made to the charity of your choice or the Old Courthouse Museum ‘Dogwood Fund’, which she has established to replace and maintain the many beautiful dogwood trees that once were completely around the courthouse. This is just one more way she is honoring the past while making this world a little more beautiful. Donations can be made directly to the Old Courthouse Museum.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m. in the chapel of Glenwood Funeral Home with Dr. Matt Buckles and Rev. Nathaniel Stamper officiating. Interment will follow in the Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery. Visitation will be at 11 a.m. until the hour of the service on Wednesday.