Martha Jean Lowe Alvis died peacefully June 24, 2021. She was born in Memphis, TN on December 22, 1928 to Erskine Havis Lowe, Sr. and Dora Bobbitt Lowe. She was a bright and curious young woman. When the national tour of the radio show “Quiz Kids” came to Memphis promoting War Bonds in 1944, she was the local contestant. She graduated from Central High School and attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA where she was the first chemistry major to graduate with honors. After college, she returned to Memphis to work in a medical school lab. There she met Joel Lawrence Alvis. They were married on April 26, 1952 and lived in Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis and Jackson, MS while Joe completed his medical internships and residencies. In Cincinnati, Martha Jean was employed as a laboratory technician at Proctor and Gamble. They settled in Jackson in 1958 and remained there until retiring to Montreat, NC in 1990. Martha Jean was a lifelong volunteer dedicated to serving others. In Jackson, she was President of the WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) of Woodland Hills Baptist Church and later First Baptist Church where she co-organized the Ministry to Internationals and co-authored the two-volume Bible Study, God’s Plan of Love and God’s Plan for Christian Living. She made mission trips to Argentina and Uruguay with the WMU and to Gaza with Joe as a medical volunteer. She wrote several articles on missions published in national church publications. Martha Jean received the Goodwill Industries of Mississippi Salute to Volunteers Award in 1986. Upon moving to North Carolina, Martha Jean and Joe joined the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church where she continued her involvement with women’s and missionary organizations. She twice served as moderator of the Presbyterian Women of the Black Mountain church where she was awarded an Honorary Life Membership. Martha Jean is survived by two sons, Joel, Jr. (Vicki), and Erskine (Susan); grandchildren Joel, III (Kelsey), Mark (Emily) and Larkin; great granddaughter Avery, in addition to several cousins. She was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Joel Lawrence Alvis, Sr. Martha Jean was known, admired, and loved by all as a wise, strong, supportive, encouraging, kind person. She lived a life full of faith and gratitude. Her family wishes to express their deep gratitude for the attention and affection offered by the staff and caregivers of CarePartners Hospice & Palliative Care McDowell and Givens Highland Farms Healthcare. A memorial service will be held at the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, 117 Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC on Saturday, July 10 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry and the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.
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