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Martilla Hester (Halyburton) Freeman

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Martilla Hester (Halyburton) Freeman, 95, of Charlottesville, died on May 20, 2018, at Heritage Inn Assisted Living.

Born on April 13, 1923, in Bladen County, N.C., she was the daughter of Matthew M. Hester and Jessie Susan Hilburn. Ms. Freeman was preceded in death by her parents; her first husband, Robert R Halyburton Sr.; her son, Thomas Franklin Halyburton; her second husband, Truett H Freeman; her brothers, Thedford Hester, Leo Hester, Opie Hester, Eldon Hester; and her sisters, Versie Hickman, Rometta Warren and Hattie Miller. Ms. Freeman was also preceded in death by her step grandson, Kenneth H. Bryant.

Ms. Freeman graduated from Bladenboro High School and from Pineland College in Salemburg, N.C. Her professional career included positions as bookkeeper and accountant for Seaboard Railroad in Lumberton, N.C; Long’s Men Store in Rockingham, N.C.; and the Robeson County Health Department in Lumberton, N.C. She also was the Office Manager for her first husband’s insurance agency in Hamlet, N.C.

Ms. Freeman was a dedicated and faithful Christian. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Hamlet for over thirty years and, later, the First Baptist Church of Bladenboro for over 36 years. As a resident for the last three years of Heritage Inn Assisted Living in Charlottesville, she never missed viewing a Sunday service from the First Baptist Church of Bladenboro via the internet. She was especially proud when her nephew, Pastor Charles Hester, conducted the service. Ms. Freeman held many leadership roles in church organizations including the Baptist Women’s Missionary Union, and for many years she managed the Baptist Thrift Store in Bladenboro, N.C.

Ms. Freeman also served as a volunteer board member for the Bladen County Historical Society.

Ms. Freeman loved to spend time with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She also enjoyed her time reading, gardening, crocheting and taking art classes.

Ms. Freeman is survived by her son, Robert R Halyburton Jr. (Cheryl Southworth) of Fort Mill, S.C.; her daughter, Jennifer McDuffie (Greg) of Charlottesville, VA; her daughter-in-law, Donna Halyburton of Rockingham, N.C.; her granddaughters, Erin Scully (Matt) of Greenville, N.C., and Kristin Howe (Steve) of Austin, Texas; her sisters Gladysteen Pait of Bladenboro, N.C., and Tennessee Shipman of Burlington, N.C.; four great granddaughters, Ireland Scully, Emmy Scully, Anna Grace Scully and Eleanor Howe; her step-daughters, Lynda Thompson (Bill) of Hallsboro, N.C., and Carole Simmons (Steve) of Bladenboro, N.C.; step grandchildren, Robert T. Bryant (Melissa) of Holden Beach, N.C., Kelly Bryant of Bladenboro, N.C., David Simmons of White Lake, N.C., Lee Jenkins of Rocky Mount, N.C., and Brian Jenkins (Lori) of Rockingham, N.C.; her step great grandchildren, Currie Nelson Bryant, Caroline Bryant, Martha Ryan Simmons, Henry Simmons, Paige Kinlaw, Haley Jenkins and Mason Jenkins, her step great, great granddaughter, Hadlee-Grey Kinlaw, and many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the caregivers at Heritage Inn and Legacy Hospice in Charlottesville, VA, and to Mrs. Doreatha Edwards of Bladenboro, N.C.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, May 24, at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 500 S. Main St., in Bladenboro, N.C., with visitation to follow. Internment will be private at Mary Love Cemetery in Hamlet, N.C.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 176 Bladenboro, N.C. 28320

Condolences may be sent to the family at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, www.hillandwood.com.

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