Verna Mae Martin Council
Verna Council passed away on March 6, 2020, at her home in Roanoke, Virginia, surrounded by her family.
Verna Mae was born on September 23, 1941 in a small Mennonite community in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She was the second child and oldest daughter of the late Luther C. and Elsie Mae Martin. Elsie always insisted Verna rely on her intellect and pursue higher education, leading Verna to leave her rural home to attend Riverside School of Nursing in Norfolk, Virginia. While there, she met Gareth Nason, the father of her children. Gareth worked for NASA, which took them to Houston, Texas, where Verna began a nursing career that would span the next 55 years at hospitals in both Houston and Roanoke.
In 1975, she was swept off her feet by a fun-loving hospital executive named Jack Council. They lived life in the fast lane in Houston until Verna insisted on returning to her rural roots in the Blue Ridge Mountains to slow down and eventually retire. After moving back to Virginia, Verna worked full-time as a nurse and continued her education, earning a bachelor’s degree from Mary Baldwin College.
Verna loved nothing more than gardening and baking with her grandchildren, serving as the Martin matriarch, hosting the annual family reunion with style, and sitting on the porch talking with those she loved. She was a voracious reader, a dedicated political advocate and pundit, and an avid traveler, particularly to her favorite cities of Boston, San Francisco, and Paris. She never met a stranger, and her contagious laughter resonated throughout the entire house. Nana’s chief life focus was her family with whom she was continuously and infinitely generous with her time, her treasures, and her opinions.
Left to carry on her legacy are her daughter, Kimberly Nason; her son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Christina Nason; six grandchildren, Chelsea, Sarah and Kyle Harig, Gracie Doane, and Abby and Mack Nason; one great-grandchild, Andy Harig; five siblings, Lester Martin, Lelia Ivey, Wilma Thomas, Sarah Breinich, and Luther Martin; and numerous nephews and nieces she loved very much. She was preceded in death by her brother, Ernest Martin, and her husband, Jack G. Council.
Her children and grandchildren will host a celebration of her life on April 25, 2020 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Red Room of the Blue 5 Restaurant located at 312 2nd Street in Roanoke. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Good Samaritan Hospice of Roanoke at goodsamhospice.com.
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