Cover photo for Martha Chatham's Obituary
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1917 Martha 2012

Martha Chatham

September 23, 1917 — July 29, 2012

Martha Chatham: Martha Is My Mother Martha Chatham is not and was not to be remembered only in the past tense. She died on Sunday afternoon, July 29, after a brief stay at Wickenburg Community Hospital here in Arizona, and a very helpful, quality-care and professional two-years' stay at My Father's Retirement Ranch here in Wickenburg. She and our family are deeply grateful for the personal, caring and medical and nursing staff at the Ranch, from the Hospice of the Valley staff, physician and nurses, and by this town's small but extraordinary community health-care and hospital facility. Martha is still and will always be my unique, feisty and caring mother, my wife Melynda's singular mother-in-law, our three children's beloved grandmother, great-grandmother and her relatives' and many friends' cherished companion and friend. For a time, she leaves behind her three grandchildren who share a significant and lasting bond with her: Chris Chatham, his wife Priscilla and great-grand children Alex Williams, Marissa and Austin in Dallas, Texas; Elizabeth Chatham in New York City; Shelly Chatham Hood, her husband Jeff and great-grand children Kele Preslar and husband Ben, and Erin and Ian Hood of Buckeye; and Geoff Chatham and his wife Teri Pallas Chatham, and great-grand children, Taylor Scott, Tucker Welch, Jasper Chatham and Lance Bach of Chandler and a nearly life-long friend, Earline Prescott of Ft. Worth. Martha Virginia Sights Chatham was born in Akron, Ohio on September 23, 1917 and was the only child of Erwin and Vatavira Sights of Robards, Kentucky. They later moved to Ft. Worth, Texas during World War II where Martha, an avid baseball fan, met and married my father Charles L. "Buster" Chatham of Waco, Texas in 1940. Buster was a professional baseball player in the minor-leagues (including Ft. Worth) with a brief stint with the major-league Boston Braves, a successful minor league manager, general manager and major league scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. He also was a life-long farmer with acreage on the Brazos River near Waco, his hometown, where many good times hosting scouts' gatherings, working and celebrating life's and family's annual events were held. Martha's ashes will be taken back to Waco by our son Chris and interred at a later date in the city's Oakwood Cemetery next to her husband (my father), her parents and my beloved grandparents. Martha was a devoted baseball-man's and farmer's spouse, mother, mother-in-law, friend and avid supporter of her husband's professional teams and my junior-league and high-school sports teams throughout her life. I am her first and only son and my only teen girl-friend and now spouse, Melynda Ann Ricketts Chatham, and I met in elementary school and married during our college-time at Baylor Univ. in Waco. We are retired residents of Wickenburg after a long career serving Episcopal Churches in Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Western North Carolina and finally, in 2000, here at St. Alban's in Wickenburg, where my mother attended church regularly for several years, made many friends and, on occasion, made funny faces at the Rector! It's isn't easy preaching anytime, but especially to your mother, who nearly always complimented me, even when I knew a sermon wasn't so great! She was a life-long member of the Disciples of Christ (Christian) Church in which I was baptized also as an early teen. Yet she gracefully and enthusiastically embraced the Church of my wife and our children and the one to which I seem to have been called and eventually served pastorally and professionally after my early post-college years. Yet the heritage of a biblical and Christian faith came slowly to me at first through the example of my mother and her father who, as I now understand, quietly and simply lived the faith, without any sort of demanding expectations that I or anyone else embrace it also. That kind of lifestyle, faith and discipleship is exactly what I needed and to which I responded intuitively. It was and is a great gift to me and to my family and for which we are all grateful. That faith and her expression of it was a "pearl of great price" in our lives, at least long before I fully understood or embraced it, as is that of Melynda's life and faith still. It was an exemplary, daily, healthy human life and spiritual discipleship, as it can be for all humanity! It is our family's hope and request that memorial gifts will be designated for Hospice of the Valley, St. Alban's Episcopal Church's music program and/or My Father's Retirement Ranch. We thank you one and all for your friendship, prayers and love. The Rev. Charles E. Chatham
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