- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

PITTSBORO, Ind. (AP) - A 75-year-old retired science teacher who died after being swept into a rain-swollen creek was known in her central Indiana community for portraying a 19th century schoolmarm at a local museum’s one-room schoolhouse, relatives said.

Doris D. Martin of Pittsboro died Wednesday night after slipping or falling into a ditch in her front yard as she and her husband cleared debris following a thunderstorm. Authorities said she was swept into an underground drainage pipe and then into a creek, where her body was found about a mile away.

Hendricks County Coroner Joseph Neuman said Martin is presumed to have drowned.

Relatives and friends were mourning her death Thursday. They said she spent most of her career at Pittsboro Elementary School, where she had been a science teacher like her father.

“We are still very in shock,” Martin’s granddaughter-in-law, Jennifer Sprout, told The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1Jt3Qai ).

Martin spent more than 13 years portraying “Miss Phoebe” at Pittsboro’s One Room School, a living history museum that’s a popular stop for school field trips. She would wear a long, black skirt and white blouse with a cameo fastened at her neck.

The great-grandmother told the Star in 2013 that creating the role of a teacher living in 1892 required intensive research, but was rewarding.

“I have always loved teaching, and working as a schoolmarm is wonderful because it allows me to be with children and adults, but I no longer have papers to grade,” Martin told the newspaper at the time.

Martin received the Hoosier Hospitality Award in 2011 for her work promoting Hendricks County, located just west of Indianapolis.

She was also known for bringing her large spinning wheel to the state and local county fairs. She would shear sheep her children raised, spin it into wool, and then knit a sweater, said her sister-in-law, Jeannie Crick.

“She could take sheep’s wool and make it into a sweater from scratch. She was unbelievable,” Crick said.

Martin also was an accomplished seamstress who sewed wedding dresses for family and friends, said Crick, adding that in all the decades she knew Martin, she never saw her friend wear pants.

“She scrubbed floors in a dress,” she said.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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