In Memory of





Obituary for Shirley Jean Stephens Martin

Shirley Jean Stephens Martin went to her eternal home in heaven on April 22, 2023, at the age of 94. Her life was abundantly blessed and joy-filled. She was greatly adored, beloved and respected by her family, friends and students as a highly creative, compassionate and caring wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, friend and educator. She had an intense love and devotion for her Christian faith, family and the USA.

She was born on January 31,1929 on her grandfather’s (John Martin Stephens) ranch in Concho County, Texas. Her parents were Elmer Lee Stephens and Olive Zola Schafer Stephens. She cherished her childhood growing up on her family’s farm. She graduated as valedictorian from Eden High School in 1946 and immediately enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) in Abilene where she earned a BA Degree in English in 1950. Her freshman year, she met a tall, handsome, World War ll Vet and B29 Bomber pilot, Jack Tracy Martin. They were married on June 27, 1947 by her great uncle, Rev. Houston Stephens. Their only child, Sharon (Sheri) Lee was born a year later. Their marriage would grow stronger in love and commitment for the next 68 years!

Jack was an outstanding basketball player at HSU for two years and was hired as the HSU Men’s Head Basketball Coach after graduation in 1949. In 1951, Jack was hired as the Men’s Head Basketball Coach at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he had a very successful coaching career for 26 years and then became the Placement Director for 13 years. As a coach’s wife, Shirley enjoyed enthusiastically cheering for Jack’s teams! She was also actively involved in the Lamar University Women’s Club, Lamar Friends of the Arts, and as an Advisor for Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Lamar Gamma Phi Chapter.

Shirley taught at Mac Arthur Jr. High School, South Park ISD, where she had a fulfilling career investing her time and talents helping hundreds of 7th, 8th and 9th grade students and their families for 36 years; 6 years as an English teacher and 30 years as the School Guidance Counselor and Student Council Advisor.

After WW ll, Jack continued his service to his country and Shirley eagerly embraced Jack’s assignment as Commander of the 273rd GEEIA TANG Squadron in the Texas Air National Guard and later his assignments with the Air Force Academy, Central Intelligence Agency, and National Defense for 36 years.

Shirley was a fearless adventurer, Anglophile, and life-long learner who pursued graduate studies in art, literature, theater, architecture, history and education at the University of London, UK (four summers), Cambridge University, UK (three summers), Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico; Howard Payne University M Ed. 1958, Stephen F. Austin University, and the University of Houston. She earned certifications in all levels of public educational instruction: Teacher, Counselor, Principal and Superintendent.

After their retirement, Jack and Shirley moved to the Air Force Village ll Senior Community in San Antonio where they devoted much time to family, church, travel, entertaining, writing and exercise. They also pursued their passion of genealogy which resulted in numerous awards for family research publications and manuscripts from South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas Genealogical Societies. Shirley was affiliated with the San Antonio Alamo Courier Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas; San Antonio de Bexar Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution; United Daughters of the Confederacy; First Families of Texas; and West Texas Family Pioneers. One of her favorite honors was serving on the Alamo Historical Library Committee. She also greatly enjoyed being the researcher and writer for the Stephens-Jones-Copeland Family Reunion for many years.

Shirley accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at an early age and served Him throughout her life in the Baptist churches she joined. She was a devoted prayer warrior for her family and took that role very seriously. She was gifted with the ability to bond with people quickly through uplifting encouragement and demonstrating Christ’s love through unconditional acceptance. She was a beautiful person, inside and out, reflecting the Christian values and grace she had been taught from God’s Word by her family and church family. Her favorite Scripture was Philippians 4:4-8.

She is survived by her daughter, Sharon (Sheri) Price of Amarillo; two grandsons, Rev. Martin Lee Price and wife, Jana, Amarillo, Texas; Judson Charles Price and wife, Lynde, Fritch, Texas; and five great-grandchildren, Jaelyn, Jack, Danner and Creed Price; Bella Price Dauer and husband, Jared; sister-in-law, Barbara Kirkham Stephens; numerous nieces and nephews; and her precious grandcat, Pandie. She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Bvt. Brig. General Jack Tracy Martin (USAFR); son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Charles O. Price; brother, Maj. General Elmer Lewis Stephens, and first wife, Nancy; three sisters, Johnny Lee Stephens Pitts and husband, Rev. Dr. Charles Pitts; Varina Ray Stephens; and Virginia Lou, Stephens James and husband, Gerald R. James Sr.

A graveside service to celebrate her life will be held at the Stephens’ Family Plot, Eden, Texas Cemetery at 3:00 pm on April 30, 2023 with her grandson, Rev. Lee Price officiating. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church San Antonio, TV Media Ministry, 515 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, Texas, 78215.