Martin David Sheets, best known as Marty, died peacefully at home on Thursday May 21, 2015.
A 1:00 p.m. funeral service will be held Saturday, May 23, 2015, at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. Interment will follow at Westminster Gardens. The family will receive friends at Forbis and Dick North Elm Street Friday, May 22, from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m.
Marty had been in declining health for five years due to Dementia. He was born March 31, 1953 at Rex Hospital in Raleigh where he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Marty is survived by his parents, David S. and Iris Lynam Sheets. He is also survived by his sister Nancy Grantham and husband David as well as his sister Jamie Gulledge and husband Mike. He has two nephews, David T. Grantham and Michael C. Gulledge, and several cousins.
Marty was a member of Presbyterian Church of the Covenant where he was ordained as an honorary Elder. A room at the church was dedicated in his honor and renamed “Marty’s Room”. He also was a faithful member of the Happy Hearts Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church. He attended special education classes at Ben L. Smith High School and graduated in 1972. Following graduation he worked 38 years for Macy’s Department Store where he was loved by his co-workers, and he loved them.
Through the years Marty received recognition of his competitive spirit and effort on behalf of people with disabilities. In 1999 Governor Hunt presented Marty the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for being a good representative of the state of North Carolina.
Marty loved sports. He participated in Special Olympics for 42 years and won many awards for his ability to compete in sports. He served as the athlete representative on the Special Olympic International Golf Committee. In 2012 Marty was inducted into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame and in 2013 was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. For 16 years Marty loved volunteering at the Wyndham Championship Golf Tournament. In 2006 he was named the PGA Tour Volunteer of the year. Last year the volunteer pavilion that is used for the Wyndham was named in honor of Marty.
In 2014 the Greensboro Historical museum included Marty in the museum’s “Voices of a City” exhibit, which highlights people, places and events that have shaped Greensboro.
A portrait of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of Special Olympics, hangs in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Mrs. Shriver chose Marty and four other Special Olympic athletes to be included in that painting.
Marty’s family is so grateful to the many friends, co-workers, coaches, fellow athletes and relatives who have been so kind to him throughout his life. He has truly been blessed.
Online condolences may be sent to www.forbisanddick.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Special Olympics North Carolina,2200 Gateway Centre Boulevard, Suite 201, Morrisville, NC, 27560, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street, Greensboro, NC, 27403, Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC, 27405, or the Arc of Greensboro, 14-B Oak Branch Avenue, Greensboro, NC, 27407.
Forbis and Dick North Elm Street is assisting the Sheets family.