Dr. Valerie Denise Martin-Stewart was born September 10, 1966 in Water Valley, Mississippi to Louise and Hervie Martin. She also had a deep love and admiration for her adopted parents, Joe and Annie Martin whom both played a pivotal role in raising her to the amazing woman she would become. While she spent less than 24 hours with her birth father A.T. Jefferson before his untimely death, she often spoke of him and cherished the time they shared together.
While she was known by many names, the ones she preferred most were simply Valerie or Val. She accepted Christ at the young age of 8 and became a member of her family’s baptist church.
She received her education from Lafayette County school and graduated in 1984. After high school, Valerie furthered her education and earned dual degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama Huntsville. Valerie was an amazing athlete. She broke records on the court throughout her high school and college career, earning her the opportunity to play professionally overseas. She traveled to Italy, Spain, Peru, and Australia during her athletic career and even used her computer science degree to work for the Australian government while abroad.
Throughout her life, Val found homes in many different churches and denominations. Her final church home was the non-denominational dReam Center Church of Atlanta. She was not simply a member of the body of Christ but a powerful leader. She accepted her call to preach in her late twenties and became an ordained minister soon after. To further her knowledge and spiritual growth she obtained a Masters in Divinity from Whitesburg Heritage Bible College and a Doctorate degree of Ministry from Andersonville Theological Seminary, penned four published books, and founded her non-profit ministry, Taking It By Force. She accomplished all of these remarkable feats while working as an electrical engineer for multiple branches of the government and being a fulltime single mother to her daughter, Paris Marie Stewart.
Her spiritual gift of preaching helped her to foster an extraordinary gift for public speaking. She cultivated a one-of-a-kind voice and unleashed it to the world as a groundbreaking motivational orator. Her well-known seminar entitled, ‘Do It Afraid,’ often packed-out rooms; making her highly respected and sought after at many government conferences and forums. The demand grew so high that it inspired her to start a second non-profit organization, this time through the government, entitled, ‘DIA. Solutions.’ Her undeniable talent allowed her the opportunity to speak all over the world, but her most cherished experience was when she took the stage at the Library of Congress.
Valerie’s accomplishments during her life seem almost limitless and it is impossible to cover them all in one writing. Dr. Valerie Denise Martin-Stewart transitioned from this life to the next on the morning of December 30, 2022 at the age of 56. She will live on in the memories of all of those she touched and impacted during her lifetime.
Valerie is survived by her beloved daughter, Paris Marie Stewart; four sisters: Dr. Joyce Martin, Dr. Beverly Brown, Mrs. China Carothers, and Ms. Tawanda Pope; five brothers: Mr. Andrew Martin, Mr. Thomas Martin, Mr. Gary Jefferson, Mr. Marc Jefferson, and Mr. Michael Jefferson. four devoted aunts; Mrs. Annie Martin, Mrs. Willie Mae Turner, Mrs. Cordia Taliaferro, and Mrs. Fannie Brown. two loving uncles: Mr. Prentice Hervey, and Mr. Roosevelt Hervey; as well as many nephews and nieces and a family’s worth of friends.
She is preceded in death by her mother Louise Hervey-Martin-Pope, her three fathers/father figures Hervie Martin , Joe Martin, and A.T. Jefferson, as well as her two brothers Eugene Martin, Bruce Martin and her beloved niece Natalie Martin.