MRS. MARTHA THOMAS CASSELBERRY passed away Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Pompano Beach, at the age of 89. Martha was born October 9, 1931, in Peoria, Illinois to J. Holt and Hazel Brown Thomas. As a kid she was a lifeguard and occasional crew for the star class boat "Parader" #1106 on the Illinois River with her dad, a Great Lakes District 4 Blue Star Class Champion. She received a bachelor’s degree in Kindergarten-Primary Education from Bradley University in 1953. It was during that time as a Pi Phi, she met her husband Hibbard Casselberry Jr on a blind date. They married in Winter Park, FL and moved to Lake Wales to raise a family. In 1965, they moved to Ft Lauderdale where work was more abundant. Shortly thereafter with her own kids not yet teenagers, Martha’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to the private for-profit Fort Lauderdale Winter School. From Thanksgiving 1968 to April 1991, students would come and go at rented space on Oakland Park Blvd. As a Kindergarten through grade 12 school in miniature, some students stayed a few weeks, others a few months; many returned year after year. They brought books and assignments from their home schools and, with the help of teachers like Martha and her business partner, Sarah Catherine Ball, students kept pace with their long-distance classmates. The children came not only from “up North,” but from faraway places such as France, Belgium, London, and Peru. They were the sons and daughters of athletes and entertainers, politicians and dignitaries. Martha retired from professional teaching in 1991. Over her life span, she spent 62 years as a member and volunteer for Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an organization that focuses on historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Martha was an active member and volunteer for Christ United Methodist Church, Fort Lauderdale, for 55 years. The church was the #1 institution in her life; it was where her personal faith grew through hearing and studying God’s Word. She put faith and love into action every day of her life to transform her corner of the world. In death Martha is still teaching. It was her wish that her body be donated to the University of Miami's Willed Body Program to provide for the teaching of normal anatomy to first-year medical students. Martha's celebration of life- a service of death and resurrection, will be officiated by Reverend Brett Opalinski on Saturday, July 31, 1 pm at the church, 4845 NE 25 Ave, 33308. In lieu of flowers, please follow Martha's lead and donate your time, money, and energy to the charities and causes in which you believe. Martha is dearly missed by her loving children Tom (Barbara), Mary (Ray) Thompson, Carol (David) Barnett, Joe, Billy (Angela), Diane Rogers; six grandchildren (Kelly, Brian, Sarah, Rachel, Michael, & Jon); and two great-grandchildren (Clementine & Jackson). Martha was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brothers Eddie and Jim.
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