Wife, Mother, Phyllis Martin Was a Teacher, Nurse and Saline Community Leader


Phyllis Anne Martin, 93, of Saline, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at Linden Square Memory Support Center in Saline.

Born July 26, 1929 in Lansing, MI, Phyllis was the only child of James and Ferne (Russell) Bliss. She attended the University of Michigan where she met Rudenz Douthat, and they married June 18, 1950. They lived in Morgantown, WV, St. Louis, Benton Harbor, Ann Arbor, Chicago and Beckley, WV, during Rudy’s Medical School, Residency, and Army service. They moved to Saline in 1958.

Phyllis had four children, David (Faye) Douthat of Saline, Jim (Margo) Douthat of Saline, Debbie (Steve) Kelly of Saline, and Randy Douthat of Cypress, California.

She married M. Warren Martin on November 4, 1968. Warren chose “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” as his theme song for Phyllis and frequently played it for her on the organ with great enthusiasm and love. She welcomed three step-sons into the larger family, Ken Martin of Surprise, AZ, Keith Martin of Dearborn Heights, and Dennis (Nancy) Martin of Saline. Since all of the children were close in age, it made for quite a house full of kids and friends (and cars in the driveway) for many years.

Phyllis had eleven grandchildren: Danielle (Brenden) Douglas, Russell (Maria) Douthat, Claire (Brad) Barnich, Hannah (Derick) Rauch, Sam Kelly, George (Heather) Kelly, Jenny Martin, Chris Martin, Melissa (Adam) Fisher, Laura (Chris) Panjwani, and Kevin Martin. She had ten great grandchildren and another expected in August. She was preceded in death by her husband Warren, and daughters-in-law Mary Martin and Kristina Martin.

Having completed all but her student teaching at U of M, Phyllis returned to school in 1965 and received her degree in Art Education. She taught 6th grade in Saline, and art in the Belleville school district. She later obtained her LPN license and was a nurse at Saline Evangelical Home.

Phyllis was an artist who was skilled at painting with watercolors and oils, and also a Master Gardener who painted the landscape in her yard with beautiful combinations of colorful perennials and annuals. The children of Jensen Elementary school enjoyed many walking field trips to her Henry Street home to tour her gardens each spring. Many Salinians will remember seeing Phyllis walking around town, with her backpack and cup of coffee and a spring in her step. Phyllis enjoyed reading, listening to music, watching PBS, and learning about all things spiritual and philosophical. Her search for knowledge and understanding led her to participate in several Study Groups throughout the years. She also served on the Board of Trustees of Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, and was a student of Dr. Jean Houston’s Mystery School. When asked what her religion was, she once responded, “I am a student of the mysteries”. She was fascinated by all of the possibilities this world and its people have to offer.

Her love of the Saline Community inspired Phyllis to volunteer with many organizations through the years. She was appointed to the Saline Planning Commission in the early 1960’s, and was later elected to the Saline City Council, serving for 6 years. Phyllis was a member of the Saline Fair Board and headed the Hobbies Department at the fair. She was a Facilitator for the Saline Leadership Institute, an active member of the Saline Senior Center, and served on the Saline District Library Board. She was among those who received the Saline Citizen of the Year award for her work with the Bixby Marionette Project, and was awarded the Saline Lifetime Achievement Award and the George Anderson Vision Award by the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce.

Although Phyllis loved to travel, and visited five of the seven continents, she never considered leaving Saline for warmer climates or better vistas. She was firmly planted in the community and blossomed year after year with each new endeavor. Over the years she attended countless sporting events, concerts, and ceremonies to watch her children and grandchildren blossom as well.

Family and friends will miss her beautiful smile, the twinkle in her eye, her witty and playful sense of humor, her colorful wardrobe and personality, and her deep and abiding love.

A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, June 11, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Saline American Legion, 320 W. Michigan Avenue, Saline, MI.

Memorial contributions can be made to Arbor Hospice https://www.arborhospice.org/.donate/ who provided care for Phyllis, and support to her family, for many months.

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