With deep sadness, the family of Martha Rose Steele King announces her peaceful death on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at her home.
She was born on December 17, 1931 in Weirton, West Virginia to the late John H. Steele Jr. and Clarice Archer Steele. Martha was eternally grateful for the influence of her parents throughout her life.
Her growing up years were spent in Guernsey County, Ohio on a farm east of Cambridge. She attended a one room school, Slaughter Hill, where her mother was the teacher for 3 years. In 1949, she graduated from Cambridge High School with a perfect attendance record for the entire 12 years. Martha attended Morehead State University and Ashland Community College in Kentucky.
During the early years of her life, she enjoyed basketball, reading, swimming and horseback riding.
On September 3, 1949, she married Gilbert L. King Sr. They welcomed 4 children to their union, which they raised with love, patience, discipline and humility. She was a faithful devoted wife for 68 years, until his death on February 16, 2018. Martha was a devoted caregiver to him for the last years of his life.
After her children were older, she worked in bookkeeping at Greenup County Bank and was retired from Greenup County Revenue Cabinet as a Deputy PVA.
Martha was a woman of deep faith and loyalty. She was baptized in the Methodist faith and raised in the First United Methodist Church in Cambridge, Ohio. She lived her life in their Christian beliefs and followed their teachings all her life.
Martha was proud to be an American and had a deep patriotic love for her country. She sent one son to serve in Vietnam and thanked the Almighty when he returned. She was strongly committed to the Democrat Party and supported it all her life. She loved politics and was an Ohio Poll Worker for many years.
Raised during the Great Depression, she never forgot her conservative childhood. She believed in hard work and a saving life style (both of which she practiced until her death).
She was a Charter Member of the Masonic Cambridge Rainbow Girls, Guernsey County Historical Society, Busy Bee Quilt Club and enthusiastic member of the Town & Country Homemakers of Morehead and she was a 4-H leader for 13 years in Ohio and Kentucky.
Martha was a devoted University of Kentucky basketball fan (having played basketball while she was in high school) and Ohio State football fan. Although she was born in West Virginia and lived in Kentucky for years, she remained an Ohio Buckeye all her life!
Martha was a great reader, a letter writer, an accomplished seamstress, doll maker, quilter, crafter, homemaker, family historian and storyteller. She was happiest when she was at her sewing machine or when she had a book in her hand.
She loved her family deeply, unconditionally and fiercely. Her family was her heart and meant everything to her and she was very protective of them (“Mama Bear”). She also loved her large group of friends, going back to school days.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by an infant granddaughter, Abby King and her beloved in-laws, Earl and Gertrude Hutton King.
Martha was a faithful wife, loving mother and grandmother, devoted friend, neighbor and Proud American, who lived fully what she believed. While we, her family and friends will miss her dearly, we will cherish the memories that we have of her.
Those left to cherish her memory, that she took great pride in, are her children, Gilbert L. King Jr. of Mt. Sterling, Jane Roark and her husband, Henry (“Sonny”) of Hillsboro, Kentucky, John Earl King and his wife, Kathy of Morehead and Mitchel L. King and his wife, Kellie of Cookeville, Tennessee, nine grandchildren, Hank Roark and his wife, Stephanie, Hunter Roark and his wife, Caitlin, Gilbert King III and his wife, Ashley, Sara Garcia and her husband, Josimar, Laura King and her fiancé, Canon Vice, Boone King, Ashton King, Joel King and his wife, Katie and Adrienne Rose and ten great-grandchildren, Brandon, Tristan, Emma, Reagan, Mia, Matthew, Christian, Brysen, Lennie Rose and Felicity.
Additional survivors include long-time special friends, Evelyn and Floyd Cornelius, Marjorie Ford, Gladys and Frank McDaniel and Jean Murray, several dear cousins, her 1949 classmates, her Quilt Club Family, Town & Country Homemakers, 4-H Club Girls and neighbors and friends at her locations over the years.
The important thing we celebrate is not that she died but that she lived. One of the greatest generations is gone. Martha was truly the Matriarch of the family. She walked before us to show us the way and walked beside us when we needed her. The torch has been passed to the next generation. We will continue the Martha King Legacy of faith, endurance, grace and self-sacrifice, so we can hear these words that Martha heard this day “well done, my good and faithful servant”.
As per her wishes, a caring cremation will take place. No service or calling hours will be held. A private family service will be held at a later date to honor her, remember her and inter her cremated remains in the grave next to her husband at the Cranston Cemetery.
Martha did the best she could with what she had at the time. Honor her life by hugging and listening to those you love and being kind to those you don’t.
Since, Martha was a life-long reader, devoted to her local libraries; contributions are suggested to the Rowan County Public Library, 175 Beacon Hill Drive, Morehead, KY 40351.
The Michael R. Gray Funeral Home in Morehead is caring for all arrangements.