Martha Naomi Roll Leavell

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Martha Naomi Roll Leavell, age 79, died peacefully in her home in Athens, Ga. on Oct. 20, 2017. The daughter of Ethel Marley Roll and Glenn Roll, she was born and raised in Natchez, Miss., and was a graduate of Natchez High School. After attending Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, she transferred to Southern Methodist University, where she received a B.A. in Latin. After graduation, she took a job with AT&T in New York City, where she met and fell in love with fellow Mississippian, Jerry Leavell.

They married in 1964 and lived in Atlanta, Ga, Little Rock, Ark, Oxford (England), Williamsburg, Va., and Clinton, Miss. before settling their family in Oxford, Miss. in 1977. She enjoyed working at the University of Mississippi’s Department of Archives and Special Collections, where she retired after decades of service. In 2008, after over 30 years in Oxford, Miss. she moved to Athens, Ga. to be closer to her family.

Naomi loved beautiful things and surrounded herself with flowers, antiques, and family treasures. She also kept up lively conversations and especially loved weekly phone calls with old friends and close family.

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She is survived by her son, Glenn Farley Leavell (Linda), Athens, Ga.; granddaughter, Elise Fontaine Gaines, Boston, Mass.; grandson, Simon Gregory Leavell, Athens, Ga.; and granddaughter, Hannah Steadman Leavell, Athens, Ga. Other survivors include her cousin, Adele “Tiny” Marley Mize, two nephews, David Calvert and Samuel Calvert, and two nieces, Catherine Calvert Fitzgerald and Suzanne Calvert Scarmack.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 41 years, Jerome Fontaine Leavell; daughter, Naomi Fontaine Leavell; and sister, Catherine Roll Calvert.

Memorial contributions in Naomi’s memory may be made to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, 2450 S. Milledge Avenue Athens, GA 30605.

A graveside service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Oxford, Miss. Lord & Stephens East, Athens, Ga. and Waller Funeral Home, Oxford, Miss are handling the arrangements.