Historic City News was informed that 73-year-old Sylvia Ann McGinnis Martin of St Augustine, unexpectedly passed away on April 28, 2023, due to an auto accident that also took the life of her husband Jason Martin, and sister Sandra Conners. Her son, Willie Erke, her sister Sally Parmentier, and her parents Arthur and Thelma McGinnis preceded her in death.
Sylvia was born on January 9, 1950, in Rockford, IL where she grew up with her three sisters. Though they tried, the sisters could never get away with anything in a town where their father was a police officer. Sylvia moved to St Augustine in 1968 to operate a motel in Vilano Beach for her parents. As a cosmetologist, Sylvia loved being her own boss and pursued numerous business ventures. Sylvia was an ambassador for Mary Kay as well as a member of the American Businesswomen Association.
Sylvia was recently knighted by the St Augustine Royal Family. She was the longest serving active member of the St Augustine Easter Week Festival and she helped bring re-enactment ships to this historic city. As a gifted storyteller with a quick wit, her unquenchable love for life, over-the-top decorations, and her ability to select the most thoughtful presents, Sylvia made holidays epic.
Sylvia who also served as a Eucharistic Minister, enjoyed boating, fishing, and all things having to do with pirates. The Order of Leviathan inducted Sylvia to membership in 2022. She was a member of the Krewe of the Blackhearts, Krewe of the 13, and the Ancient City Swashbucklers.
She is survived by her daughters Alexandra (Peter) Cramer and Roxanne (Shane) Erke-Moore, stepdaughter Starlene (Michael) Cheeseman, grandchildren Katie, Rodger, Kelly, Dylan, Abigail, Chase, Connor, sister Susan Burk, nephews David (Maria) Parmentier and Charles (Tracy) Burk, nieces Sally (Mike) Pfenning, Jenny (Terry) Thompson, Jammie Knight and her aunt Sylvia Reynolds.
The family has invited friends to join them on Monday, May 15th at the Cathedral of St Augustine at 9:00 a.m. for funeral services. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Betty Griffin House in St Augustine or St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Rest in peace, Sylvia. You will forever be our beautiful Lady Red.