Martha Kay Crosslin Brisby passed away on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at her beloved home of nearly 42 years in Franklin, Tennessee.
She was born on September 7, 1943, to Frank and Mary Esther (Taliaferro) Crosslin, Sr. of Eagleville, TN. She grew up on the family farm on Hwy. 41A, was active in 4-H Club, and was a champion in the rifle competition. She preferred reading over cooking, she loved dancing and live music, and she had a genuine sweetness and smile that drew people to her throughout her life.
She was a proud 1961 graduate of Eagleville School, and in 1962 she married Kent Q. Brisby, her childhood sweetheart. A few years later she embraced the adventure of becoming an FBI agent’s wife, eventually moving to the Bay Area where she earned her degree in early childhood education from San Francisco State University. It was during this time that she moved into the little yellow house on Pimento Ave. in Sunnyvale which set the stage for the role that brought her highest accolades: “Mama”. For this role, she was perfectly cast. Her patience, her enthusiasm, her gentle nature, her wrapt interest and concern, and the way she lit up whenever Anne Marie or Russell entered the room (even when they were grown-ups) was a sight to behold. Her new neighbors and the agents’ families delighted in Martha Kay’s southern accent and marveled at her kindness as well as her people-gathering skills. She was known as “the first kid on the block” to buy the latest in new technology or gadgetry, and she remained tech savvy throughout her life, patiently teaching others how to troubleshoot their computers and smart phones. She could always find a reason to celebrate, and she organized many memorable 4th of July block parties and parades for the neighborhood. More than four decades later there was a mutual ache for the friends she had to move away from when the time came to leave California.
After the FBI transferred her family back to Tennessee in 1981, they built the Franklin home where she would continue to raise her children, entertain, and reside the rest of her life. She took great joy in watching the birds, the deer, groundhogs, foxes, and occasional bobcats that visited her property over the years. Martha Kay continued to make lasting friendships upon her return to Tennessee, remained active with the FBI wives, cherished time with her sisters, nieces, and nephews, but most of all she excelled as the most loving, accepting, devoted mother her children could have asked for, and she extended those gracious qualities to her children’s friends who also now grieve her passing.
One of her unique accomplishments was her perfect Sunday School attendance record which she started at the Eagleville United Methodist Church and continued until the age of 28. It wasn’t broken until she was recovering in Mountain View Hospital from a c-section on her first Mother’s Day. Another success was having such beautiful handwriting and mastering calligraphy despite being told by a teacher it would be “too difficult for a leftie to learn to do.” Such determination helped her continue to address hundreds of lovely wedding invitations for her daughter despite the pain in her arthritic hands. Martha Kay was an expert bargain hunter and coupon clipper. She had a way about her-an angelic kindness that made clerks and cashiers want to wait on her, no matter how many discounts she brought before them. Her presence at Costco and Hobby Lobby was so beloved that it was not unusual for employees to visit her in the hospital or send her well wishes when she had not been shopping for a while.
She loved scrapbooking, card making, and both collecting and gifting Nora Fleming pieces. These hobbies were perfect for her because they often involved pictures, celebrations, and making other people feel appreciated and loved. These subjects were among her specialties. Her craft room was a haven of creativity, tools, and supplies that she enjoyed tenfold in her “Mimi” years with her grandson Kenneth Russell Buettner, whom she often referred to as “the light of her life.”
In addition to her parents, Martha Kay was preceded in death by her sister Nancy Crosslin Davis and brother Frank Crosslin, Jr.
She is survived by her children, Anne Marie Brisby (Ken) Buettner and Russell Crosslin Brisby of Franklin; grandson Kenneth Russell Buettner.
Also surviving are her precious and devoted sister Esther Victory; brothers-in-law Henry Davis and Kenneth "Coon" Victory; sister-in-law Margie Crosslin of Smyrna as well as a host of nieces and nephews.
She was blessed with countless loyal friends who reached out in words, prayers and labor both in person and across the miles during her final weeks. That love was felt by her and those who stood vigil at her side.
Friends Sharon Batts, Jean Mason, and Pam Ludwig were tireless in providing her comfort.
Services will be conducted by Williamson Memorial Funeral Home in Franklin, TN. Family will receive friends Monday, November 27, 3PM-7PM, 2023. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, November 28 at 2PM with visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow at Williamson Memorial Gardens. Eulogy will be delivered by Brad Corrigan and graveside services will be conducted by Rory Feek.
Active Pallbearers will be Kenneth Russell Buettner, Eddie Crosslin, Greg Davis, Will Davis, Jason Ezell, Davis Smith, and Mark Wauford
Honorary Pallbearers will be Wayne Batts, Parker Bell, Jon Brisby, Tom Brisby, Brad Corrigan, Tom Greuel, Steven Hinesley, Steven Ludwig, Don Mason, Don Rieder, Sam Allen Scales, Mark Schweer, Jo-el Ulmer, and Michael Wauford.