Cover photo for Martha Thomas Wily's Obituary
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1941 Martha 2021

Martha Thomas Wily

March 3, 1941 — October 17, 2021

Martha “T” Wily, 80, of Durham, North Carolina, passed away peacefully Sunday, October 17, 2021. A kind, generous woman with a good sense of humor, Martha will be missed greatly by her family and friends. Martha was the daughter of late Martha and Elvey Thomas. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her son, John Thomas Wily of Los Angeles, CA, who passed away on August 15, 2021.

Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, Martha settled in Durham, NC, to raise her family with her husband, John F. Wily III of 54 years. In her twenties, Martha was an elementary school teacher before retiring to raise her family. Martha later went back to teaching preschoolers and often filled in as a substitute teacher at Hope Valley Elementary. As a mom, she never failed to make a lunch, even decorating them for holidays, and was always known to have the best snacks when friends visited. In her marriage, her love for her husband was never ending, and she was the mastermind behind the operation.

Martha loved a good book and could often be found snuggled under a blanket reading. She was a former member of Up-To-Date Book Club, Supper Club, and the Jr. League of Durham and Orange County. Family and faith were especially important to Martha. She was a longtime member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, which is where both of her children were baptized and confirmed. Her grandkids were her pride and joy.

She is survived by many who loved her: husband, John; daughter, Marcie Wily (John Helleberg, Sophie, Jack); Thomas’s children, Jake and Jacqueline Wily; cousin, Beth Day (Travis, Collin, Keenan); sister-in-law, Margaret Noisworthy (Pat); brother, Elvey Thomas (Sharon, Brad, Elvey); nephew, Fleming Wily; and cousin, Kinsey Wily.

There will be a small reception to celebrate Martha’s life on Thursday, October 21, 2021 from 4-5pm on the terrace of the fellowship hall at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The family will have a private service prior to the reception.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3639 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707.

The Wily family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham, NC. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Martha Thomas Wily, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, October 21, 2021

4:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

Westminster Presbyterian Church

3639 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC 27707

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