Martha Graves Duffee

Martha Graves Duffee, age 87, died peacefully in her sleep at home in Carrollton,

Georgia on April 8, 2019.

A native of Dadeville, Alabama, Martha graduated from Auburn University where she was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. She attended graduate school at Ohio State, then moved to Manhattan Beach, California and was a flight attendant for TWA, flying all over the country with many stars from the ‘Hollywood Glamour’ days, including Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1959, Martha drove her MGA convertible across America all by herself to come home to Alabama and marry Bill Graves in Alexander City. Within a short time, Martha and Bill had three children.

In those early years back home, Martha was a school teacher at the old Russell School, enthralling the school children (and everyone in town) with her cosmopolitan fashion style.

As the children started growing, so did Martha as she began a career in banking. Martha set the pace for a new generation of women in what had traditionally been a male-dominated career field. Beginning as a teller at First National Bank in Alexander City, Martha quickly sought more responsibility and education, attending and graduating from the BAI School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin and the Core Audit course at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Martha rose first to Auditor, then Corporate Auditor, eventually earning the position of Corporate Vice President of Personnel (now called HR). During her banking career, Martha served as chairman for the Central Alabama Group of The National Association of Bank Women, was named Woman of the Year in Banking, and was selected from a nation-wide search of elite executives as a delegate to the newly opened Soviet Union to assist teaching the people there to live in a free market.

Martha was a trail-blazer, pace-setter, and mentor to many through her career and life.

When Bill passed away from cancer, they were both only 57. Martha quickly became another source of inspiration for women with her zeal for life and living. She traveled the world, hiking through the Alps and Rocky Mountains, going on Safari in Africa and sailing through the Greek Islands.

Everyone who knew Martha was thrilled when she found love again later in life. In the spring of 2003, Martha married Cecil Duffee, someone she had known since childhood. They lived happily in Carrollton, Georgia for 16 years, enjoying many friends, neighbors, family and especially all their grandchildren.

Martha was predeceased by her husband William Dawson Graves, III, by her parents Evelyn Corley Buzbee and David Lawrence Buzbee, her sister Helen Buzbee Richardson.

She is survived by her husband Cecil G. Duffee, Jr., sister Hilda Buzbee Reault, children William Dawson Graves, IV, Lauren Graves, and John Patrick Graves (Stephanie); grandchildren John Patrick Graves, Jr., Corley Elizabeth Graves, and Katie Anne Graves; stepchildren Stevie Duffee (Julie), Linnie Duffee Dortch (Kirk), Barbara Bretz Duffee, Robbie Duffee.


A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 3:00 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexander City, Alabama, with interment at a later date.


If desired, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. James Episcopal Church, Lake Martin Animal Shelter, or a charity of your choice.

Messages of condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Almon Funeral Home of Carrollton has charge of arrangements.