PLANT CITY — Curling up with good mystery books, cooking up recipes in the kitchen and tackling home improvement projects have all taken up Judy Martin's time since she retired as the executive director of South Florida Baptist Hospital's foundation.
It's not surprising when you consider Martin solved the mystery of starting a foundation for the hospital, cooked up flavorful fundraisers during her 16-year tenure and helped tackle significant additions for the hospital.
The only difference now is that retirement allows her to slow down after being a fixture in the Plant City business community.
"I think the best thing about being retired is there's no sense of urgency any more," said Martin, who officially retired at the end of May. "If I plan to undertake a project but don't get to it, no matter, there's always tomorrow, or even next week."
It's a well-deserved respite for Martin. She started the hospital foundation in 1996 with no initial donations or funding, a small executive board and a secretary she shared with two other departments. Yet she managed to raise the seed money with a lot of "shoe leather" and community connections.
Those connections came from her longtime work with Tampa Electric. After graduating from Florida State University in 1963, Martin began work as a home economist at Tampa Electric. She was then transferred to the Plant City office to design kitchens, laundry rooms, residential lighting and to give presentations for junior high and high school home economics classes.
After more than 32 years at TECO she took on the challenge of starting the foundation, which eventually grow into a force. It helped fund the Beaty Surgery Center in 2000 and the Jim and Ruby Jean Redman Emergency Department in 2006.
"Mrs. Martin left behind a beautiful legacy that will be cherished for years," said Jana Butler, the new executive director of the foundation. "She's a wonderful person to work under and be trained by. Many of her founding fundraisers for the foundation will continue."
Dale Bliss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.