In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Martha Ellen Marler, 1925-2023

Martha Ellen Marler, 1925-2023
IMB Photo

Martha Ellen Marler, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in South Korea, Guam and Greece, died Nov. 18, 2023. She was 98.

Martha was born Sept. 6, 1925, in Harperville, Mississippi, to Alvie and Vadie Ray Townsend. She graduated from Harperville High School, received the Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and the Master of Religious Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. She also studied at Ouachita Baptist College and East Central Junior College in Decatur, Mississippi.

Though she became a believer at a young age, “It was while I was in school there (at East Central) that I dedicated my life to the Lord for whatever He wanted me to do. I did not know at the time His will for my life but trusted that He would reveal it to me as I was ready for His revelation,” she wrote while seeking missionary appointment.

She married Parkes Marler on April 14, 1946. While in seminary, the couple felt called to the mission field.

In 1955, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Martha and Parkes missionaries to Korea. They served in South Korea from 1956-1968, Guam from 1968-1982, and Greece from 1982-1986.

Her obituary says, “Mrs. Marler’s love for her Lord Jesus Christ was evident to all who knew her. Her faithful Christian example and ministry changed the lives of people around the world, many of whom have also served as church leaders and missionaries.”

She was preceded in death by her husband L. Parkes Marler.

She is survived by her children, Gloria Glaze (David) of Brandon, Mississippi, Marcus Marler (Katrina) of Tennessee, Thomas Marler (Lilian) of Guam, and Philip Marler (Wendi) of Carthage, Mississippi; nine grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are not known at the time of publication.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.