Martha Nell Parker Doty passed away peacefully Sunday, February 12, 2017, at her residence in the Meadow Lake Senior Living community in Tyler, Texas. She was born August 27, 1935, in Frederick, Oklahoma to Mattie Givens Parker and Albert Raymond Parker. She and her husband, David Harold Doty, married on May 27, 1956, in Wichita, Kansas. She is survived by him; her sister, Barbara Parker August (and husband Jerry August) in Sacramento, California; sons, David Keith Doty (and wife Cindy Hearty Doty) in Bellaire, Texas, Dr. Duane Harold Doty (and wife Susan Smith Doty) in Tyler, and Robert Parker Doty (and wife Cathy Garza) in Kensington, California; an aunt, many cousins, five nieces, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and many granddogs.
Martha's passion for education led her to complete her BA and MS degrees, and to achieve "all but dissertation" status in a PhD program (American Literature at Georgia State University). She also taught literature and composition to high school and college students for nearly a decade. Her intellectual interests and work life were broader still, including history, journalism, and creative writing. Her passion for art focused primarily on music, including classical violin (which she played in community orchestra), the "big bands" of her youth, and New Orleans jazz. Her passion for gardening gave no quarter to climate, soil conditions, or varmints; all of them eventually yielded as she brought forth an always impressive array of flora and copious garden vegetables.
Her very best days, however, were spent in the great outdoors, where she could share and teach her love of hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, and bird-watching with and to her family, teen girls in a scout troop, and eventually the hiking community in and around her beloved "Mountain House" above Lake Ouachita (west of Hot Springs, Arkansas). There, she was instrumental in forming the Friends of the Ouachita Trail (FoOT), a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the 223-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail. The United States Secretary of Agriculture appointed her to two terms on the Ouachita-Ozark Resource Advisory Committee, and the American Hiking Society recognized her as its "Volunteer of the Year" for 2002. At age 71, she summited Pike's Peak. In a fitting epithet, bestowed by one of her girl scouts, "Mrs. Doty was tough and fun."
Martha spent the last four years of her life at Meadow Lake in Tyler, surrounded by four generations of family, fellow residents, and the staff at Meadow Lake Memory Care and Heart to Heart Hospice. Her husband and family hold a special place in their hearts for the loving support and care she received during the final leg of her wonderful, inspiring hike through this world.
The family will hold a celebration of her life as she would have wanted it, when the current school term permits. The family hopes that those interested in sending floral arrangements might consider donations to the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County, 211 Winchester Drive, Tyler, 75701, as an alternative.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Feb. 17, 2017