Martha Royce Gilliland Long, a woman of strong faith and driven by a sense of purpose, surrounded by her family, friends, and supportive staff at her care facility, went to her Lord on Friday, November 12, 2021. Martha was born in Baird, Texas, on September 11, 1934. She now joins her beloved husband, Hudson Long, who preceded her in death on January 24, 2018.
Graveside rites will be conducted by her son-in-law, Pastor Tim Baker, on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, at the Llano City Cemetery.
After growing up in Baird, Martha spent her freshman year of college at Howard Payne University and then transferred and obtained a degree in chemistry from North Texas University at Denton, graduating summa cum laude.
Martha’s parents were Stella (Popie) Carter Gilliland, a registered nurse, and Pastor Royce Fraser Gilliland. Her father died when she was 9. As a young teenager, she started working as an assistant bookkeeper, which she continued working at through the completion of school. Later, Martha worked as a summer missionary. After college graduation, she moved to Llano to become a home demonstration agent. Soon after, Martha became a full-time rancher when she united in marriage to Hudson. She loved her family and was thrilled to share with them the joys of ranching, but she did not share her John Deere tractor.
She is survived by daughters, Pat Long Weaver and husband David and Pamela Baker and husband Tim; son, Paul Roy Long and wife Kristina; nephew Dan Tarver; and four grandchildren, Rachel Baker, Nathanael Baker, Olivia Long, and Madelyn Long.
Martha was the kind of mom who did her best to support her children and later her grandchildren. From 4-H to band to football practice to college theater trips, she was always ready to go.
Martha’s faith was demonstrated by her actions, being a longtime Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church of Llano, vacation bible school teacher, and committee member. She also supported Pam and Tim’s work on the mission field and was able to visit their posts in Africa, the Philippines, and France. Her servant’s heart led her to participate in the Bill Glass Women’s Prison Ministry, where for years, she worked with prisoners in units from the Dallas County Jail to the Woman’s Death Row Unit in Huntsville.
As part of her passion for helping women, she worked for years with her church’s Mother’s Day Out program. In one fundraiser, she participated in a fun run. From that modest start, Martha accumulated too many medals and trophies to count. The family supported and enjoyed watching her run at the National Senior Games at Stanford University in California. The Capital 10K became an annual event; gold medals for her age bracket became the norm.
Martha’s engagement in her community ranged from the Women’s Culture Club of Llano and Llano Junior Women’s Culture Club. Some of her favorite projects were the Llano County Library and raising funds for scholarships; the board of the Llano County Historical Museum, where she was very interested in historical preservation, curating projects, and special exhibits as well as being a major contributor to historical publications; and as a driving force behind Llano New Horizons, a relief organization that administers relief funds to families in Llano County, helping with utilities, rent, and coordinating aid with other agencies.
Martha always loved theater and music, from Willie and Waylon to Bob Marley. In Valley Spring, Texas, the eye of a casting agent was caught by her million-dollar smile and her cute character of a husband. This led them to being featured extras in a host of movies, commercials, music videos, and then speaking roles. Her favorite speaking roles were in “Hope Floats” and “Bernie.” Millions have now seen her great smile.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful caregivers at Orchard Park in Odessa for their care and support of Martha in her final years.
The family requests that memorials be directed to any of the following:
Llano New Horizons, P.O. Box 107, Llano, TX 78643
Llano County Public Library, 102 E. Haynie St., Llano, TX 78643
Llano County Historical Museum, 310 Bessemer Ave., Llano, TX 78643
Funeral arrangements made under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Homes Inc. of Llano. Email condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.