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THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION AND UNDERSTANDING
Martha Lou (Gregg) Rison beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, sister- in- law, aunt and cousin, departed to eternal rest on Sept. 18, 2022, nearly reaching 90 yrs. old.
Martha was born in Austin,Texas to Annie Mae Fisher and O.B. Gregg, Nov. 25, 1932. Martha was raised by Annie Mae and Sherman Fowler. In addition to her parents, Martha is preceded in death by her husband Dr. Alton D. Rison.
Martha attended Austin Independent School District. She was a loyal and faithful life member of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Austin, TX.
Martha was a KVUE TV Five Who Care 2003 Winner, Austin Living Legend and respected member of the Huston - Tillotson University Alumni Association.
Martha enrolled in Huston - Tillotson at age 16 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, in 1952. It was there she met her late husband, Dr. Alton D. Rison, graduate of H.T. She and her family moved to New York, where they raised 3 daughters. Martha worked for disadvantaged families for NYC Human Services in the 60’s. Later, she was an educator of 14 years for New York City Public Schools. While in N.Y. she founded “Lift Every Hand and Create” an annual black history youth contest for schools, as an officer of her community civic association. She and Alton returned to Austin, where she continued service to her church, community and Huston - Tillotson University.
As a long-time member of Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, Martha served in the Women’s Missionary Society, volunteered for many church efforts and was the organizer of the Sick and Shut In/ I Wish I Could efforts visiting many elderly and sick members in their homes. She created the “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, fashion and cuisine fundraiser to benefit church efforts. The church selected her for the Essence and Women’s Day Awards.
Martha was the co-founder of Sunbelt Education and Theater Productions with her husband, Dr. Alton D. Rison, former educator, curriculum specialist,author and playwright. They presented educational solutions with Alton’s books to bring about achievement in schools, particularly minority youth. They produced Alton’s musical plays involving community members and the university, as fundraisers. Together they brought internationally known pastor and Grammy Winner Walter Hawkins and the Gospel Family in 1988 to Austin Palmer Auditorium to provide a one of a kind fundraising gospel music festival, involving various church choirs, benefiting Huston - Tillotson University Alumni Fund.
Martha also successfully recruited Nations Bank, Austin to bring the world renowned R & B group the “Temptations” to Austin, benefitting Huston - Tillotson, where they presented the group the “Keys to the City”. Martha is known for her dedication and labor to create unique ideas for university growth, serving as an officer and chairperson of Special Projects, including the annual “Blues & Jazz” fundraiser.
Martha was a strong supporter and life member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She was honored by HTU for Fine Arts with an Emphasis on Theater in 1994, for continued service to her chapter and the community. Martha also served on the George Washington Carver Library committee.
To celebrate her life today, she is survived by countless friends and family including sister Marylynn Bragner, three daughters, Valerie Henderson, Adrienne Isom, Deidra Milling; son-in- law Fred Milling, Sr.; 6 grandchildren, Willie Henderson, Jr., Jeremy Henderson, Adrienne Marie Isom, Vernon Francis, Jr. , Frederick Milling Jr., Marcel Milling and 4 great-grandchildren.
In 2004,the local African American community named her a “Texas Human Rights Pioneer”. Our family and friends will miss her warmth and kind spirit. Her favorite expression of encouragement to others was “bravo”.
“Bravo, Martha !”