The co-founder of Martin's Potato Chips was a tough businesswoman who loved driving the company truck, making deliveries and meeting people.

Fairy Martin was resourceful and hard-working as she helped create a good-quality product that people continue to enjoy today, said her daughter Ruth Fitz of York.

Fairy Martin died Sunday at local Lutheran Nursing and Rehabilitation Center-Sprenkle Drive. She was 94.

Fairy and Harry Martin, who married in 1940, started Martin's Potato Chips a year later. Harry Martin died Feb. 12, 1995.

Besides Fitz, Fairy Martin's survivors include a daughter, Doris Simpson, of Beachwood, Ohio; a son, Vern Martin of Shippensburg, Cumberland County; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Potato Chips: Fairy and Harry Martin developed the Martin's Potato Chips brand, selling their product at the former York's City Market, and the New Eastern and Central markets, Fitz and Simpson said.

The couple had a farm where they grew and sliced potatoes and fried the slices in a large kettle. Their product bags had the kettle emblem to symbolize the brand's beginnings, Fitz said.

"My parents worked 14- to 16-hour days," Fitz said. "It was really a mom and pop business. They had integrity and were honest and wanted to have a good product."

The couple sold the business to Kenneth Potter in 1971, though they still worked for the Thomasville-based company, which is now run by Potter's sons, Kenneth Potter Jr., and David Potter.

Fairy Martin retired from the company in her mid-80s, Fitz said.

'A lot of fortitude': Simpson said her mother loved to tackle "handy-man" projects. Running a business also boosted Fairy Martin's confidence, Simpson said.

"She was a can-do person, brave-spirited," Simpson said. "She had a lot of fortitude. She was a tough lady, wasn't afraid to try things."

Fairy Martin also was an active member of local St. Paul's (Wolf's) Evangelical Covenant Church, where she had been a member of the bell choir. She prepared food for local Habitat for Humanity construction volunteers. She was a member of the York County Society of Farm Women Chapter 13.

Fitz said her mother had dementia, but handled her health issues gracefully.

"She didn't get bitter or get mean," Fitz said. "She really learned to accept what was. I'm just amazed at how well she handled it. That's the biggest life lesson she gave me."

Simpson said celebrating her birthday on July 12 without her mother will be difficult this year.

"I was born on my mother's birthday," Simpson said. "To me, that's very special."

Service for Fairy Martin

A celebration of life service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul's (Wolf's) Evangelical Covenant Church, 4501 Wolfs Church Road in West Manchester Township.

Viewing is noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the church.

Burial will be at St. Paul's (Wolf's) Union Cemetery.

—Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at