Martha Cornelia Umphlett, 77, turned a cartwheel on her 50th birthday ‘to prove that she still could’

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Martha Cornelia Custis Umphlett, 77, of Wilmington, died Thursday, Jan. 28, 201 at Lower Cape Fear Hospice.

Martha was born Aug. 8, 1938 in Suffolk, Virginia, daughter of the late Earl Roland Custis and Cornelia Parker Custis. She graduated from St. Mary’s College in Raleigh and the UNC-Chapel Hill, where she received a bachelor of arts and master’s of education and had been an avid athlete. She taught physical education in Atlanta, Georgia and Charlotte in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though trained as an educator, she also worked in real estate, directed corporate health programs and assisted at a local lamp and frame shop. She was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington and previously of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Wilmington, where, at both churches, she served as a member of the vestry and choir. She had been active in Cursillo in the Diocese of East Carolina, having served as its rector. She was the president of the Wilmington Boys Choir from 1989 to 1992.

She was a devoted volunteer for organizations throughout the community, especially for many years at New Hanover High School. She had a zeal for fundraising and spearheaded campaigns for the organizations with which she volunteered. She was a lifelong lover of fun, turning a cartwheel on her 50th birthday to prove that she still could.

She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Mack McCoy Umphlett; son Kevin McCoy Umphlett and daughter-in-law Marianne Parsons Umphlett of Mooresville; daughter Donna Umphlett Carlson and son-in-law Christopher Richard Carlson of Raleigh; son David Alton Umphlett and daughter-in-law Lorinda Holderness Umphlett of High Point; and eight grandchildren, McCoy Richard Carlson, Cole Allan Carlson, Sarah Diane Umphlett, Caroline Parker Carlson, William Harper Umphlett, James Custis Umphlett, Parker Holderness Umphlett and Thomas Ward Umphlett.

The Order of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 1 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, officiated by the Rev. Dena Bearl Whalen. The family will receive friends in the Parish Hall at St. Paul’s following the service.

On Saturday, Feb. 6 in Suffolk, Virginia, the family will greet friends both at the interment at 10 a.m. at Holly Lawn Cemetery and at a reception following at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401 and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 16 N. 16th St., Wilmington, NC 28401.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

To view the full list of Port City Daily obituaries, click here.