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Early morning in Wellsville, by Melissa Scott

Martha “Marty” Robarts, 91, Hornell, formerly Wellsville


Martha “Marty” Robarts, 91, passed away on September 18th at Elderwood of Hornell, NY after a period of failing health. 

Martha was born on April 1, 1932 in Hornell to the late Margaret and Merlyn Sexsmith.  She attended St. Anne’s Academy (grades K-8) and graduated from Hornell High School.  Martha married her first husband Kenneth D. “Bud” Kemp in 1951 and they moved with their four children to Wellsville, NY in 1960.  For many years, Martha worked for two prominent Wellsville clothing stores: the former Davies and then for Cannon’s.  It was at Cannon’s where she met the love of her life, John Robarts.

John and Martha were married in August 1978 and spent 33 happy years together.  One event that they especially treasured was a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party on Keuka Lake in which family came from across the country to celebrate with them.  Memories of their two trips to Bermuda were very special to them.

Martha’s greatest joy was her children and her family. She and John loved to travel together to visit family. Nothing meant more to her than Thanksgivings in New Hampshire, or summer parties at Loon Lake, or Christmas Dinner on Elm Street in Hornell – as long as the family was there.  In more recent years, she took great pride in watching her grandchildren grow up, attend college, and start successful careers.  “Nana” will forever hold a special place in all of their hearts.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband John in December 2011. Martha was also pre-deceased by her son Daniel in 2020, her sister Mary Hill in 2006, her brother-in-law Stanly Hill in 2018, her brother George Sexsmith in 2022, her daughter-in-law Karen Kemp in 2011, and son-in-law Damon Lawrence in 2013.

Martha is survived by her 3 children: Elizabeth (Kemp) Lawrence, Catherine (Kemp) Weinman and her husband Christopher, Kenneth J. Kemp and his wife Mary, and sister-in law Bonnie Sexsmith. 

She is also survived by her grandchildren:  Sadie Dexter, Brandon Lawrence, Abby Lawrence, Matthew (Jenna) Kemp, Jehna Kemp, Tim Kemp, Bill Kemp, great grandchildren Jack Kemp and Ryann Shields, as well as her step grandchildren Mark Babbage, Matt Babbage, Sam Babbage, Ellen Lewis and Jennifer Murphy. 

She will be greatly missed by her stepchildren Ross Robarts and his wife Brenda, Barbara Ceglia, and her step grandchildren Chelsea (and family), Josh, Zachary, Sarah, and Jacob.

Martha had many nieces and nephews that will greatly miss “Aunt Marty’s” lively presence at family gatherings.  She was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother who always put the needs of those she loved before her own. Martha was known for her kindness and sense of humor. She was always smiling and quick to laugh.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Elderwood, Hornell for their kindness and compassion.  Martha truly loved the care and special connections that were made during her stay there.

Friends are invited to call Friday September 22nd from 5-7pm at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home, 34 West State Street, Wellsville, NY. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Immaculate Conception Church Saturday September 23rd at 11am with burial to follow in Woodlawn Cemetery.

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