Memorial Service – Bob Martin

Memorial Service Livestream / Recording

Saturday, December 16, 2023     Wilmore Free Methodist Church

Visitation: 1:00 – 2:00p
Memorial Service: 2:00p
Family Interment at Wilmore Cemetery Follows Memorial Service

In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated at Wilmore Free Methodist Church, Generations Community Church, or Bluegrass Care Navigators Hospice.

Service Worship Folder


Bobby Ray Martin, 84, died at home in Wilmore in the very early hours of Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, of bladder cancer. He was born on February 6, 1939, in Butler, GA, the son of the Rev. E. A. Martin, Sr. and Rena Lee Walters Martin. The last of four children born to a rural Georgia circuit-riding Methodist pastor, he grew up in a series of small South Georgia towns, and he often accompanied his father on his pastoral rounds.

Graduating from Dublin (GA) High School in 1956, he obtained a B.A. from Asbury College (1959) and went on to graduate school at the University of GA (M.Ed., 1966) and The American University (Ed.D., 1972).

He also received an honorary doctorate from Asbury College.

He and Jama (Bell) married on March 11, 1967, and have celebrated 56 years of a very successful marriage.

“Dr. Bob,” as he became known during his career in education, began as a science teacher at Swainsboro (GA) High School in 1962. He taught in the Science Department at Asbury College (now University), 1966-1969, and at Sandy Springs HS (GA), 1969-1970. Once he obtained his doctorate, he entered school administration, first at M.D. Collins HS in Fulton Co. (GA), then in Fayette Co. (GA) at Fayette County HS, East Fayette Elementary School, Central Office (Associate Superintendent and Interim Superintendent) and retired as principal of Braelinn Elementary School in Peachtree City, GA.

Bob served his Lord and the church in a variety of ways, including various offices in the local church, in the district and beyond, serving a term as Lay Leader of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist (UM) Church and representing the conference as delegate to general conference three times. As he approached retirement, he became a local pastor, serving an 8-year appointment at Lovejoy Memorial UM in Newnan, GA (1998-2006), then as a copastor for shorter terms at three more churches until 2013. “The Lord has been so good to me, and I want to serve Him as best I can in retirement.”

Bob and Jama lived in Wilmore (KY), Washington, DC, Red Oak (GA), Fayetteville (GA), and Newnan (GA) before retiring to Wilmore in 2013.

Once retired to Wilmore, Bob was a member and served on the board of the Wilmore Free Methodist Church and a partner in Generations Community Church of Nicholasville, KY.
Enjoying children and grandchildren was his greatest pleasure. Known as a storyteller, he always sprinkled object-lesson stories into his motivational talks to educators and into his sermons.
Bob is survived by wife Jama, two children, their spouses and families: daughter Kimberly Smith (Richard) and three sons: Nathan, Jonathan and Andy, of Fayetteville, GA, and son Jeremy Martin (Tia) and their two children: Gianna and Joey, of Williamsburg, VA.

He is pre-deceased by his parents and three siblings, Elsie Davis, Betty Ruth Means, and Edgar A., Jr. (“Buddy”).

The family wishes to express appreciation to the team from Bluegrass Care Navigators Hospice for their month of invaluable service and for the many expressions of sympathy and support which have come in recent days.