Martin, Mary Porter "Popie" Johns
Mary Porter "Popie" Johns Martin passed away at home on Friday, February 27, 2015 surrounded by her family and animals. Popie was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 19, 1944 to William Allen Johns II and Logan Phinizy Johns. Popie grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she attended Saint Catherine's School. She left the south to attend Bryn Mawr College where she received a Bachelor's degree with honors in Ancient Greek, and continued at University of Pennsylvania where she received her master's degree in Classics. Adventuresome and passionate about Greek history, Popie spent two summers in Greece, excavating the underwater ruins of Halieis. She met her husband, Stephen "Steve" Clarke Martin, through a college friend and, after proposing to him, they were married on December 21, 1968. Steve was an officer in the Navy and, unwilling to wait at shore, Popie travelled from port to port to meet him when his ship docked. During their travels, Popie and Steve developed a Navy family, who continue to gather annually and remain beloved friends. Popie and Steve moved to New York City during the 1970s where Popie worked for the Children's Aid Society while Steve attended law school. They then moved to Washington, D.C. where, for seven years, Popie worked for the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, co-writing a periodic annotation of the latest works in the field, a valuable resource for researchers and practitioners.In 1978, Popie moved with Steve to a large and dilapidated farm in Amherst, Virginia where they spent hundreds of thousands of hours coaxing the farm into the beautiful masterpiece that has welcomed endless friends, been sanctuary to rescued horses, dogs, donkeys, cats and an occasional goat, and provided her family with a home that was always welcoming and always a refuge. During the first years of living on the farm, Popie overcame the challenges of living in a remote and rural area by quickly creating a community of friends in Amherst. She gave tirelessly of her time and energy to many organizations and environmental causes, including a 17 year effort to develop the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail. Her continued passion for the welfare and education of children and belief in the value of a strong public school education was evident during the 11 years she served on the Amherst County School Board. One of her most passionate endeavors was the Humane Society of Amherst County where she spent 30 years working to provide homeless animals with the opportunity for adoption and ensuring that the Humane Society had both a facility and funding that would allow the continued rescue of animals for many years to come. Popie was a valuable asset to every organization and her energy and dedication was an inspiration to everyone who worked with her.As a mother, there are not enough words to describe the devotion which Popie gave to raising and supporting her daughters, Alice and Meredith. She attended and cheered at every soccer game, horse show, Pony Club Rally, State Fair, cross country meet, and academic endeavor. Her love of horses created a deep passion for riding and equestrian competition in Meredith and Alice. As a result, Popie spent endless hours standing ringside holding (at times unruly) horses, applauding the successes, and most importantly, giving comfort after the failures.Popie's endless supply of generosity, grace, and hospitality was one of her greatest gifts. She entertained with ease, created celebrations seamlessly and effortlessly, and was always truly sad to see company leave. Her gardens were her greatest joy during the spring and summer months and she spent countless hours creating bountiful flower beds from which she gifted many with bulbs and plants and overflowing vases of flowers.A celebration of her life and her flowers will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. and all who knew and loved her are invited to join us on the farm at 589 Naked Creek Lane, Amherst.Popie is survived by her husband of 46 years, Stephen Clarke Martin; her daughters, Meredith Page Martin and Alice Phinizy Muller; her brother, Ferdinand Stoddert Johns and his wife, Beth Johns; Steve's sister, Judy Clements and her husband, William Clements; her aunts, Marion Coles Jones and Agnes Johns-Sweet; and numerous and wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins. Memorial contributions can be made to the Amherst County Humane Society or a charity of your choice.