Martha Cheney-Payne, age 91, entered into eternal rest on Friday, November 1, 2019 at Orlando Health in Longwood, FL. The Tattnall County native has lived a full life; complete with monumental impacts too far too many individuals to list. Her story begins with her birth in Reidsville to David Taylor and Louella Hudson Phillips. In her youth, she could be found working alongside her mother in the family’s department store, in downtown Reidsville; D.T. Phillips Store. After graduating high school, she had dreams of furthering her education and would go on to attend and graduate in 1949 from Georgia State College for Women (now known as Georgia College). After graduating college, she wed J. Max Cheney in 1949 and the couple returned to Reidsville in 1951. The couple was very instrumental in helping to shape the social and civic fabric of Reidsville. Martha was the director of music at Reidsville Baptist Church and was the very first public school system music teacher in the Reidsville School System. In addition to helping to form the minds of children, Martha also had a heart for reaching out to the least of those in our society. She played music and led religious services for the women’s prison that was located just outside of Reidsville at the time. (This was with the assistance of Chaplain Andy Miles and Warden Lucille Lee). In making Reidsville a more beautiful place, she was a longtime member of the Reidsville Garden Club and the organization’s President. Countless parties and social functions were held in her home, including those of the Reidsville Lions Club, church functions, VFW get togethers, and State Bar Association meetings. After the untimely death of her husband, Superior Court Judge J. Max Cheney; Martha met and wed in the years that followed, L.R. Payne in 1980. The Payne’s held residence in both Statesboro and Jasper before returning to Reidsville in 1992 where she joined the Reidsville United Methodist Church. Once more in her life, death took her loving spouse. This loss never stopped Martha from being active in the community and a loving mother to her children and all that she met. She truly loved every person that God imbued with a soul and she treated them with the utmost of love and respect; just as every child of God deserves. She had a beautiful soul, a bounty of love, and a beloved peace that would draw people close to her. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her. She is preceded in death by her parents, husbands, and a sister, Mary Williams.
She is survived by her children, John (Trish) Cheney of Reidsville, David Cheney of Midway, and James (Lisa) Cheney of Longwood, FL; sisters, Marie Collins of Midway and Mozelle Griner Horvart of North Carolina; grandchildren, Hilary (Ches) McCall, Malory (Kent) Kicklighter, Jennifer Cheney and Leah (Calvin) Waters; three great grandchildren; Forrest Cheney Church, Tavren McCall, Kimber Kicklighter; several nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends beginning at 10:00am on Monday, November 4, 2019 at the Reidsville United Methodist Church with the funeral services to begin at 11:00am with the Reverend Marc Foster officiating.
Memorials may be given to Rising Sun Lodge #32, PO Box 2113, Reidsville, GA 30453 or Reidsville United
Methodist Church, PO Box 218 Reidsville, GA 30453
Low Country Cremation and Burial is serving the Cheney family.
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