Martha Speight Adams Connolly

Martha Speight Adams Connolly

Martha Speight Adams Connolly departed her earthly home on August 4, 2020 for her heavenly home.  Martha was born on July 31, 1943 to James C Speight and Frances A Speight in Rocky Mount. She attended and graduated from Rocky Mount High in 1961 and from the University of North Carolina in 1965. She met Ed Adams at UNC and they were married in June of 1966.  Ed passed away December 5, 1989 at age 46. Martha met fellow widower Bill Connolly in 2004 and the two were married in 2005. Martha leaves behind many friends and family who mourn her loss. Among those are her loving husband, Bill, daughter, Allyson Dickens Gardner (Scott) and son Ned Adams (Jennifer). She was so proud to also be a mother to Kelley Connolly, Donna Caldwell, Michael Connolly, and Jaime Connolly. She also leaves behind 7 grandchildren, Cole, Jackson, Avery, Peyton, Will, Dexter, Jacob and sister-in-law Carol Ware. Her only brother, Jim Speight predeceased her.

Martha was a lady of passions. She was so passionate about her God, her church and her family.  She spent a fulfilling life in a teaching career and did everything in her power to prepare her students for their life ahead. Martha taught in Charlotte, Elkin, Broadway and ended her career at Tramway Elementary in Sanford.  Included in her passions were her Tar Heels and everything Tar Heel blue.  Bill often kidded her that the main reason he won her over was for his UNC tickets.  She loved attending sporting events of all kinds with Bill, especially UNC basketball games.  In 15 years of marriage, she and Bill lived an inspiring love story and enjoyed travelling and spending time with family and friends, especially their Friday Night Crew. In retirement, Martha found inspiration in painting and hosted several local art shows.  

Due to COVID-19 there will be no church funeral at this time.  A memorial service will be held when it can be done so safely. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wendell United Methodist Church Building Fund online giving at

A graveside service will be held and family and friends are invited to attend while observing current social distance guidelines.  Livestream at

Arrangments are with Strickland Funeral Home & Crematory, 211 W. Third St., Wendell.  Email condolences


  • Janet & James Bullock Posted August 5, 2020 3:02 pm

    Bill, we are so sorry. While we did not know Martha well, we know how happy she made you. Sending our love & prayers.

  • Judy and Gary Woodhsm Posted August 5, 2020 5:58 pm

    We are so sorry for the loss of Martha. She was such a pleasant person to be around..God bless you and your family. Your family is in our prayers
    Gary and Judy Woodham

  • Jean Daniels Posted August 6, 2020 9:34 am

    To the Connolly family, I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of knowing Martha for a short while, and she was a wonderful lady.

  • Emily Bass Posted August 6, 2020 10:04 am

    Allyson & Ned & families, I am so very sorry for the lost of a wonderful lady, your Mom.
    Much love to you during this very difficult time. The summer your family spent in Dortches
    was so very special with your grandparents & we sure enjoyed your family.

  • Rhonda and Richard OConnell Posted August 6, 2020 10:44 am

    Allyson and Cole,

    We send our deepest heartfelt sympathy to both of you and your family.

    Richard and Rhonda

  • Medrith and Keith Nuttle Posted August 6, 2020 3:26 pm

    Bill and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Everyone loved Martha, she will be greatly missed.
    Keith and Medrith

  • Sandy Troutman Posted August 6, 2020 5:18 pm

    Bill I am so terribly sorry for your loss of Martha. She was a lovely lady.

  • The Metcalf Family Posted August 6, 2020 5:49 pm

    Bill, Allyson, Ned, and families: Sending you much love and prayers for today, tomorrow, and the days and nights ahead. Thinking about Aunt Martha – from our beach weeks (Adams Jeans/Genes),,. holiday parties, family get-togethers, weddings, and, oh, just a myriad of different memories over the years. We love you all. Cindy, Andy, Madeleine, Olivia, Max, and Genevieve

  • Glenn & Vera Todd Posted August 7, 2020 2:01 am

    Connolly Family, we are so sorry for your loss and our loss as well. Martha was a beautiful lady, a wonderful neighbor and She will be greatly missed..

  • Harold and Barbara Jones Posted August 7, 2020 11:14 am

    We are so sorry to hear of Martha’s passing. Cherish your memories and know your friends and family are holding you close in their hearts. The Tarheels found another angel.

  • Ava Etheridge Posted August 7, 2020 12:11 pm

    So sorry for loss. Sending prayers and love

  • John Roberts Posted August 7, 2020 5:32 pm

    Bill and family. My cousin Frances Barry has kept me informed about Martha’s fight for life. I remember a trip to Lake Lure where I was taken by her welcoming, gracious smile, her kind, compassionate, gentle and thoughtful nature. She was a true friend for all who new her. Bless you and your family in you time of loss. I and many others are so thankful that our paths in life crossed.

  • Julia & Joe Ledford Posted August 7, 2020 8:27 pm

    We were very sorry to learn of Martha’s passing and our hearts are touched by your loss. Our prayers have been with you in these recent times and we continue to lift you for comfort and encouragement as you make your way through the adjustments. She was a bright star in your world for sure.

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