A Trailblazer in Education and Volunteerism: The Legacy of Martha Bradshaw

Martha Bradshaw saw opportunities to excel when most saw the gruels of life. Born to educator parents L.P. and Faye Mann in Newport, Arkansas, Martha attended Marion High School, where she was president and valedictorian of her senior class and editor of the school newspaper. 

Upon graduating high school, Martha moved on to the University of Arkansas, where she continued her education and remained full of life, becoming a varsity cheerleader, president of the Chi Omega Fraternity, and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. Martha Bradshaw would move to Memphis to teach home economics in the Memphis City Schools system. While there, she met James C. Bradshaw, a medical student from Hartsville, Tennessee, who would become her husband. The two would move to Lebanon circa 1960 to start their family.

Martha volunteered for numerous organizations, including but not limited to First United Methodist Church, Lebanon Year Round Garden Club, and Friends of Children’s Hospital. Amidst volunteering and raising her family, Martha continued her educational career, earning a Master of Education from Vanderbilt University in 1985. 

Martha continued to stoke the flame of her passion for education, serving as Director of Development for Castle Heights Military Academy and was a Castle Heights Board of Trustees member. She served as the Vice President of Development and Alumni Affairs for six years and became a member of the Cumberland University Board of Trust. Martha’s time with CU was rich, establishing the Jim and Martha Bradshaw Family Endowed Scholarship for full-time nursing students in Wilson County. Recipient of the scholarship, Joseph Mullins, expressed his gratitude for their generosity saying, “the endowed scholarship has helped me pay for nursing school. Because of it, I haven’t had to take out any loans and I’m looking forward to graduating debt free thanks to the generosity of the Bradshaw family. 

Retirement brought a good life, as Martha enjoyed golf and tennis matches in Naples, Florida. Though Martha was no longer working full-time, she did not lose a step. Her granddaughter, Liza Bradshaw, described her distinctly: “Her force of nature attitude and drive empowered everyone around. Her beauty and personality shined like no other. I will always remember how she treated people and the values she instilled in me. She will forever be my greatest role model.”

Martha lived life to its fullest, eventually being awarded the Chi Omega Fraternity President’s Award and enjoying her time traveling and spending time with friends and family. 

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