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Martha Ann Harmon

December 24, 1956 ~ March 12, 2024 (age 67) 67 Years Old
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Martha Harmon Obituary

Martha Ann Harmon

November 24, 1956 – March 12, 2024

Martha Ann Harmon, 67, also known as “Marti,” died Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson, North Carolina.

Martha was born to Robert L. Harmon and Cassie A. Harmon nee Herrin of Kannapolis, North Carolina, November 24, 1956. She attended A. L. Brown High School and by graduation had established herself as an outstanding student, French horn player, and animal lover.

Martha rejected multiple music scholarships to study Science Education at N.C. State University. She met her future spouse, James “Jim” Beaver, Jr., of Concord North Carolina, in her freshman year. The two married upon Martha’s graduation in 1979.

Martha joined Jim in West Palm Beach, Florida, where Jim was working in the aerospace industry, and began teaching in Palm Beach County. When field opportunities became available in Jim’s work, Martha encouraged Jim to take them, and so began the couple’s next 44 years of adventure.

Martha and Jim lived and worked in nine states – Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, and North Carolina -- and visited every state in the union. Martha and Jim also lived briefly in Japan. Martha particularly loved Austria where she enjoyed the music, Lipizzaner stallions, and culture of Vienna, and the Sound of Music legacy of Salzburg.

Martha had a close bond with her father and shared his love of the American West. This love continued with Martha and Jim and the two spent decades exploring the natural wonders and history of the Western states.

In addition to teaching, Martha was a SCUBA diver, a certificated pilot, a dog trainer, an equestrian, a wildlife rehabilitator, an amateur photographer, an amateur horticulturist, a captain and education officer in the Civil Air Patrol, and a bluegrass and old-time radio DJ at WHUS -- the radio station of the University of Connecticut.

Martha was a gifted teacher known for her irrepressible energy and stunning creativity. She identified science connections across all disciplines and ignited a passion for science in young minds. Over her 35-year career Martha taught thousands of middle school students to love science. Charles County, Maryland, named Martha their Teacher of the Year for the 1998-1999 term.

Martha was known for science-themed student trips. She led students to local areas of natural interest as well as distant destinations of the American West, Hawaii, and Costa Rica. She initiated a summer science enrichment program that included aviation, field trips to National Parks, and hands-on learning activities. Martha organized engineering contests that involved whole communities. Martha and her students were favorite subjects in the community news sections of newspapers, especially in Tehachapi, California, and Charles County, Maryland.

Martha retired from teaching in 2015 and Jim followed in 2016. They chose to spend retirement based in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Martha would be continuing her adventures today but for the onset of dementia and most recently a cancer diagnosis. Her legacy will continue in the hearts and minds of her students, her friends and associates, her family, and her husband Jim.

Martha’s survivors include husband James R. Beaver, Jr. of Mount Airy NC; sister Susan Talbert, sister Sharon Muir, and brother Robert Harmon, Jr., all of Concord NC; and multiple nieces, nephews, and in-laws.  Services will be private, but Jim is accepting stories about Martha from her friends and associates for a future online tribute and memorial.

The family offers a heartfelt thank you to the outstanding staff and management of Dunmore Plantation in Dobson NC, and the Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson NC. Memorials may be made to either or both facilities.

Carolina Cremation Center is respectfully serving the family.

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