Vicki Ruth Westbrook Martin, age 70, died peacefully at her home in Athens, Texas, on August 26, 2014 surrounded by family. Vicki, a 30-year resident of the North Country, impacted many lives and gave unstintingly to her community, students, family and friends. She was a woman of fierce determination and true grit who was greatly loved and will be forever missed.
The oldest of six children of Mary Juanita Smith and Morris Franklin Westbrook, Vicki was born in Athens on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Vicki graduated from Athens High School in 1962 and put herself through Henderson County Junior College, where she was head cheerleader and president of Kappa Alpha Pi. She graduated from East Texas State University in 1966 with a teaching degree and took a job in Texas City before moving to Wichita Falls, where she met her husband, Michel Leon (Mike) Martin, while he was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base. They married in 1967 and welcomed their only child, Maurice Jay Martin, in 1970. Vicki was immensely proud both of Jay’s accomplishments and the man he grew to be. When Jay brought his future wife, Meg, home for the first time, Vicki instantly knew that she was the one. She was over the moon when her grandson Charlie was born in 2001 in Austin, Texas.
Vicki and Mike moved to North Lawrence in 1972, where they bought a dairy farm on McEwen Road. She was close to Mike’s parents, Maurice and Germaine Martin, and spent many days taking them on outings and caring for them in their later years. Vicki taught school in the Brushton-Moira Central School District before opening The Paperback Browser in Brasher Falls. In addition to running her business, Vicki was very active in the community, serving on the town’s zoning board and as president of the local historical society. She was involved in many athletic pursuits and was one of the founding members of a women’s softball league. She worked for four years as the archives manager of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association in Canton and became an expert in local genealogical research.
Vicki and her sister Patsy Westbrook were best friends and raised their children together in North Lawrence. Patsy’s daughter, Micah McGraw Barton of Fairview, Texas, thought of Vicki as a second mother, and Vicki adored Micah’s husband, Jason, and considered their daughter, Mary Claire, her granddaughter. Claudine Martin Leduc and Raymond Leduc of Marlboro, NY, were always close to Vicki’s heart, as were their children. She was very fond of Ray Leduc, his wife, Dina, and their children; as well as Marc Leduc, his wife, Megan, and their children; and was so excited at the prospect of Eric Leduc’s impending marriage.
Upon returning to Athens in 2000, Vicki taught reading and math intervention at Bel Air and South Athens elementary schools before retiring this June. Vicki was passionate about her vocation and made a difference in many children’s lives. During Vicki’s illness, her wonderful friends from school kept the family supplied with food and loving support. The family will always be grateful for the kindness of everyone from the Athens school district family.
With her move back to Athens, she was able to be a more active part of her brothers’ lives. She was proud of the life Morris Westbrook and his wife Mary McLaughlin Westbrook had made and was close to their children, Bree Westbrook Alexander and Bret Westbrook, both of Fort Worth, Texas. She adored Bree, her husband Tanner, and their two sons, Easton and Hunter, and looked forward to the birth of Bret and Lindsay Westbrook’s first child in October.
Growing up, Vicki had a soft spot for her brother Joe Ben Westbrook of Athens, TX. She was thrilled when Joe Ben and Brenda’s son, Ben Eric of Fort Worth, Texas, graduated from Texas A&M law school; and loved Ben Eric and Alisha’s three sons, Jaxson, Houston and Archer.
Vicki is also survived by Mike Martin of Bangor and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, September 6 at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Athens Public Education Foundation at www.athenspef.org or directly to St. Lawrence Central School.