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Mattie Carolyn Henderson Martin Hankins

Raleigh MS

Mattie Carolyn Henderson Martin Hankins left this earth for her true home in heaven at the feet of her Jesus and was reunited with the love of her life, Jerry Martin, on Sunday, August 7, 2022. She was a sixty-two year resident of Raleigh MS who was residing at Strong River Villa in Mendenhall at the time of her death.

Carolyn was born in the Sand Hill community of Greene County, Mississippi on September 20, 1940 to Zethra Alexander “Z.A.” Henderson and Mildred Brown Henderson. The oldest of four children, she was the first one in her family to graduate college. She attended what was then Jones County Junior College and earned her degree in home economics from Mississippi Southern College (now USM). In 1960, she became the home economist for Smith County and would spend the next seven years working with homemaker clubs and 4-H clubs. At a time when it was not “appropriate” for single women to live alone, she rented a room from Mrs. Lena Lawson until she later married Aunt Lena’s nephew. In 1962, she married Gerald R. “Jerry” Martin of Raleigh. At that time, she also moved her membership from the Methodist Church to First Baptist Church of Raleigh where she would serve her God for the next sixty years. After a few years of marriage, work and travel, she gave birth to their children, Gerald M. Martin and Jerrolyn Martin Owens, and left the workforce until she found herself widowed with two very young children in 1973 following the untimely death of her husband.

Carolyn returned to work with the extension service, then taught school for one year before becoming the Director of School Food Service for the Smith County Schools, a position she held for more than twenty-five years. A few years after being widowed, she married Jimmy Dale Hankins and became the stepmother to four children, Dr. Steve Hankins, Craig Hankins, Wayne Hankins and Shane Hankins. She would spend the next forty-five years loving, praying for, and taking care of her six children and ten grandchildren. Even in the last years after dementia had taken its toll, even when she could not tell you how many children she had, she never failed to tell anyone who would listen about her ten grandchildren.

While her children were still in school, Carolyn again became a single mom, working, serving and raising her family with the help and blessing of God. She returned to school while working and obtained her master’s degree from USM. She served her profession as the president of the Mississippi School Food Service Association and as the southeastern regional director and national board member of the American School Food Service Association. She taught classes at two community colleges. She served her church as Sunday school teacher, discipleship training teacher, vacation bible school director, WMU officer, member of the church choir, and in numerous other positions. She continued to volunteer as a 4-H club leader and mentor children and youth. She was always there for each of her children, making time to see, pray for and encourage each of them to live a Godly life.

After retiring and wondering what she would do with her time, Carolyn became the hands of Jesus to many in need. She spent her days preparing food, visiting with widows and those with health issues, driving friends and neighbors to medical appointments, and caring for the never-ending stream of people who passed through her life. She traveled extensively with her sister and others, enjoying cruises and bus tours around this and many other countries. Carolyn also recognized the need for some “younger members” in the First Baptist “Happiness Is” senior

adult ministry and became active in its weekly meetings and many trips. Even with this busy “retirement” schedule, she always found time to be “Nana” to her many grandchildren and enjoyed each moment with them, whether it was traveling to spend a few days with those who lived farther away or picking up those living closer from school as a special treat when their parents needed a little help.

Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents; by her first husband, Jerry; by her brother Jim Henderson and his wife, Mary; by her former husband, Jimmy Dale, by her in-laws Hooker Martin and Mellie Martin and Clinton Hankins and Effie Hankins; by her first husband’s brother Percy Martin; and by other brothers and sisters-in-law. She is survived by her daughter Jerrolyn Martin Owens (Robert) of Brandon; sons Judge Gerald M. Martin (Judy) of Raleigh, Dr. Steve Hankins (Joann) of Gulf Shores, AL, Craig Hankins of New Orleans, LA, Wayne Hankins (Beth) of Birmingham AL and Shane Hankins (Vickey) of Raymond MS; sister Della Inez Henderson of Mobile, AL; brother Earl Henderson (Linda) of Sand Hill; special sister-in-law Bobbie N. Martin of Raleigh (both frequently declared that they had been “sisters” for sixty years); special cousin Wayne Henderson (Sue) of Fruitdale AL; grandchildren Jack Martin Owens, Kristin Owens (Hjalti), Thomas G. Martin, Seth A. Martin, Michael Hankins (Stefhanny), Gloria Ann Hankins, Austin Hankins, Hunter Hankins, Jackson Hankins, and Anna Claire Hankins; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and close friends.

The family would like to thank Faith, Liz, Sandra and the rest of the staff at Strong River Villa who provided wonderful, loving care to our mom for more than two years. We know she loved each of you and we are so thankful God brought each of you into our mom’s life.

Visitation will be from 5:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 11, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Raleigh MS and Friday August 12, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Raleigh. Funeral service will be at First Baptist Church of Raleigh at 11:30 a.m., on Friday, August 12, 2022 with Bro. Don McMaster and Bro. Keith Ramage officiating. Interment will follow a grave-side service at North Raleigh Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the First Baptist Raleigh senior adult ministry or the First Baptist Raleigh youth ministry. Should you prefer, you may also make a donation of your money, time or talents to someone in need of your assistance and tell them Ms. Carolyn wanted you to help them.

Colonial Chapel Funeral Home of Magee is in charge of arrangements. 601-849-5031

An online guestbook may be signed at

Colonial Chapel Funeral Home is an online news source serving Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.


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