Funeral arrangements set for Hendricks County school teacher who drowned in flood waters

Emergency crews at the scene of the drown rescue operation in Hendricks County.
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A community is in mourning after a retired school teacher was whisked away in flood waters Wednesday.

It happened Wednesday right outside Doris Martin's home near Brookridge Drive, between Brownsburg and Pittsboro, just after 7:30 pm. Police believe flash flooding led to her death.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Doris Martin. Visitation will be Sunday from 3-7 pm with services Monday at 10 am, both at Pittsboro United Methodist Church 227 E. Main St. in Pittsboro.

"Her name is on here with all the other people who helped make these," said Pastor Dave Buckner, United Methodist Church, pointing to some of the church banners Doris Martin helped design and sew for the sanctuary.

Martin, 75, was a longtime member at Pittsboro United Methodist, where her unexpected death left everyone in shock.

"Why? Why Doris now? Why at this moment? I don't think that those are answers that you ever get," said Pastor Buckner.

Investigators say Martin may have slipped into the creek at the end of her driveway while clearing debris in the rushing waters. The force of the waters made it impossible for her husband to rescue her.

Emergency crews said he saw his wife fall in the water, but the current was so strong that he couldn't save her. A normally dry drainage ditch became a death trap for the woman as she was swept away, right from her front yard where she and her husband had been cleaning away debris after an earlier storm.

"She either slipped and fell in or was caught in the current and was swept away," explained Pittsboro Fire Chief Bill Zeunick.

Zeunick said the woman traveled through several drainage pipes that ran underneath the ground.

"When the currents move this fast, it's very difficult for anybody to get out of anything, a current like that," he added.

Rescue crews found the woman almost a mile from her home, almost 30 minutes after her husband called 911, but it was too late to save her."With all these heavy rains, you need to really be careful around moving water," cautioned Zeunick.

It was a heartbreaking scene for many in the neighborhood, who said the woman had taught many of their children at one point. For her husband, though, the loss was unspeakable.

Martin's first love for teaching afforded her a role at Pittsboro's One Room Schoolhouse, where she entertained the locals and thousands of visitors. Doris' daughter told Eyewitness News the woman is a mother of two, as well as a grandmother. She taught more than 39 years and was the schoolmarm "Miss Phoebe" at Pittsboro's One Room School. She was awarded the Hoosier Hospitality Award in 2011.

"She stayed in character the whole day," said Principal Jeremy Brooks.

Brooks says when not playing Ms. Phoebe in the one-room school, you would find her at real school loving on children with a smile.

"She was a staple in our building. Always in our building. Saying hello, always had a kind word to say, always a smile," said Brooks. "We'll miss her. Please pray for her family."

Meantime, the entire community remembers the one person who seem to have touched so many lives.

Doris Martin's family sent word to the church that in lieu of flowers, they would like donations made to the One Room Schoolhouse in Pittsboro.

Read the Hendricks County Flyer's story here.