Martha “Ann” Potter

Martha “Ann” Potter, age 80 of Cleveland, Texas passed away Monday, June 29, 2020. She was born April 24, 1940 in Sulfur Springs, Texas to parents Thomas and Verda Heflin who preceded her in death along with her son, Jeffrey Potter; and sister, Sue Fletcher.

Survivors include her husband of 61 years, Gene Potter; sons, Mark Potter and wife Carrie, Joel Potter and wife Julie; daughter-in-law, Cheri Potter Palacio; grandchildren, Sarah Dunn and husband George, Andrew Potter and wife Meagan, Zachary Potter, Austin Potter and wife Kristen, Kelly Ellsworth and husband Presten, Nathan Potter and wife Bobbie, Faith Potter, Rachel Wood and husband Chris, Joel Potter, II and Anna Grace Potter; great-grandchildren, Levi and Tori Potter, Archie and Russell Ellsworth, Conor and Holden Dunn; along with numerous other relatives and friends.

The world is full of great people. People with dedication to their work, love in their hearts, and a driven attitude. However only a slight margin of these people have the ability to inspire others. The ability to inspire takes great strength, and an irrefutably strong center of moral and ethical standards. The reason being, inspiration cannot be derived from weakness, self-loathing, or ignorance. And in my own experience, true inspiration comes from those who have no idea of how their lives impact others, how their selflessness and humility are observed and cherished by those around them.

I have had the blessing of belonging to a beautiful family, but when push comes to shove, only one person comes out on top, my seventy-one year old, five-foot-two Grandmother, Martha Ann Potter.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”(1 Corinthians 13:13). Many attempt to live according to this verse, but my Grandmother lives it above reproach. Love and compassion are as ever present in her life as litter is on a highway.

At the age of fifty-four she volunteered to take care of me while my parents worked. She played with me, fed me, and most of all, loved me like any grandmother loves a grandchild. She had things she could have been doing instead, but she dedicated her time, the most precious thing anyone can give, to me for two years when no one else could. Her love and selflessness are the fibers that knit our family so closely together, and have woven my personal morals and beliefs into a quilt that reflects her legacy.

It is because of her that I aspire to help those less fortunate than I. It is because of her that I do not waver in my values. It is because of her that I have learned that the world’s priorities are upside-down; that it is not all about me, it is about how much I can love and care about others. Each of these fibers is present in her life and I aspire to craft my life as similar to hers as possible.

Life without humor is nothing but a hollow and empty husk that takes the place of laughter and joy. My grandmother has the uncanny ability to incite laughter in the hearts of the stern with her sweet and sassy southern charms. Perhaps it is simply her age, but when she makes outrageous and witty remarks, it is simply impossible to resist a laugh. Meanwhile, even more so, she encourages us to laugh at ourselves – as she laughs at herself everyday. Laughing at one’s own mistakes is a quality that I have been fortunate to inherit from my grandma.

As silly as it may seem, it is even the quality of a successful leader. To laugh at a mistake is to move on; it is to encourage others to aspire to succeed as opposed to simply not failing. In addition, the old adage that “laughter is the best medicine,” has rung true in my life. It can remedy failing friendships, cure past grievances, and heal the deepest internal wounds. Laughter is something that people do not share enough, and as a result we lose something so impeccably beautiful that we miss out on the true depth relationships built with experience and laughter can achieve. I only hope to have as many beautiful laugh lines on my face as she does.

As if love, joy and humor were not sufficient, my grandmother is still teaching me something that the world has completely lost sight of. Simplicity. In her home, out in the middle of the forest, she shares her every day with my Grandfather and their beloved dog, Nugget. Together they spend every morning and evening out on their porch, drinking coffee and sharing a love that has been fifty years in the making.

During the fortunate times I visit my Grandmother, I join her in this and each time, amidst the calm, quiet and fireflies, I discover more and more who I am and what I aspire to be. Dropping my extensive schedule to embrace the peace and calm of rural enchantment teaches me that I can be content with less. That going slow, appreciating true beauty, and reconnecting with my inner self is much more rewarding than a packed planned day. Her influence teaches me that filling my life with events leads to emptiness. But by embracing what seems to be nothing, I can feel so fulfilled and joyful.

There is inspiration everywhere: on the Internet, in history books, on motivational posters. However there is no equivalent to the inspiration of a person like my Grandma. Her stubborn spirit and her sincerity have created an encouraging family environment of which I am so blessed to be a part. In reality, she has no idea the effect she has on our family and on our lives. But it is because of this that she inspires me to do things I would have never dreamed of. I have so many life lessons that originated from her love and care. I can only dream of inspiring others to the extent that she has me. To be a Martha Ann is an honor, and to be have her as a grandmother is one of the biggest rewards I could ever ask.

Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Friday, July 3, 2020 at Magnolia Baptist Church, Cleveland, Texas. Services will follow starting at 10:30 a.m., Friday, July 3, 2020 at Magnolia Baptist Church, Cleveland, Texas. Interment will follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Cleveland, Texas.


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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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