WILMINGTON — On September 20, 2023, our beloved mother, Martha Ellen Beatty Soles, passed away quietly in Wilmington, NC: She was 91.
She was born on February 23, 1932, in McKeesport, PA, to Foster and Wynona Beatty, both high school teachers. As a child, Martha developed the love of language from her English teacher father and went on to become a voracious reader — you rarely saw mom without a book. Mom also treasured the many fun summers spent in Dayton, PA, with her cousins, aunts, and beloved Grandma Marshall. Mom attended Muskingum University, followed by the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. In 1955, Martha married Dr. E. Melvin Soles, an optometrist, which eventually lead Mel to a career in the army and Martha as an Army wife — a role she cherished. During that time in the military, Martha placed her nursing career on hold to raise her three children. In 1982, after 25 years, Martha reentered the nursing field and found her passion in oncology at Franklin Square Hospital in Baltimore, Md.
No matter who it was — family, patients, or friends — Martha was ready to help. Whether volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels or advocating for military families, mom felt it her mission to get involved. Living in Joppatowne, Maryland, for over 30 years, she and Mel attended Good Sheppard Presbyterian Church, where she sang in the choir, sat on many committees, and made life-long friends. An avid fan of the Baltimore Orioles, Ravens, and Pitt Panthers, she always found time to watch or listen to the games. Her greatest pleasure, though, were her grandchildren, all three of which she loved greatly.
In 2005, to be closer to her daughter Debbie, she and Mel moved to Shallotte, NC. A few years later, Mel and Martha followed Debbie to Asheville and moved into Givens Estate, where Mel died in 2016. Mom’s last move was in 2020 to Wilmington, NC, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her last few years of life lead to quite a few trips to the hospital, which, in a way rekindled her spirit as she joyfully bantered with the nurses and traded stories about their shared experiences. We’re sure mom is up there somewhere wearing a nursing outfit, finding ways to help out.
Mom was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. E Melvin Soles, daughter, Marilyn Soles Dash, and brother, Russell Beatty. She’s survived by Debbie Soles Dillard (Bruce), Brian Soles (Joyce), son-in-law Joe Dash (Anne), and three grandchildren: Cameron Dillard (Haley), Sam Dash, and Karina Soles.
Mom will be interred with dad at Arlington National Cemetery; date to be determined.