Martha Ellen Barr Stilwell, 86, formerly of Peachtree City


Martha Ellen Barr Stilwell, daughter of Jesse and Ester Barr, age 86, went to be with the Lord on April 10, 2010.

Originally from Dyer, TN, Martha Ellen and her husband Frank have resided at Winwood Retirement community in Marietta, for the last seven years. Prior to moving to Marietta, they made their home in Peachtree City, GA.

Martha Ellens’s life was centered around her love for God and making a difference in the life of everyone she touched. She did this by encouraging others to do their best.

A graduate of Union University in Jackson, TN., she continued her studies at the Memphis College of Music, West Minister Choir College in NJ. and later, from University of Georgia she earned a Masters and Education Specialist Degree. Her career began in church ministry as Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, NC.

In 1965, she redirected her path to work with children through the Clayton County School system, first as a third grade teacher, then elementary music, and finally in 1968 the first Coordinator of Fine Arts, where she held this position for 28 years until her retirement in 1995. In this tenure she originated the Spivey Children’s Choir which has become internationally renowned for their remarkable singing prowess.

Her numerous accolades include: Union University Distinguished Alumna of the year for her 50 years of public works, 2006 Outstanding Ga. Citizen award, 1990 Georgia Music Educator of the Year, and in 1995 the opening of the Martha Ellen Stilwell Art Gallery at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center.

She is survived by her husband Frank and nieces Suellen Reitz, Cathy Griswell and nephew Bill Griggs Jr.

Viewing will be at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 15, with service beginning at 11:00. Interment will be at Westminster Memorial Gardens in Peachtree City. An additional memorial service will be held at First Baptist Marietta on Church St. on Saturday 17 April at 11 a.m.

Memorial Gifts may be made to The Clayton State University Foundation to be used in support of the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir.