Mary Joan Martelly: A Biography


Have you heard of Mary Joan Martelly? You may not know her name, but she was a fascinating woman who led an extraordinary life. Born in the early 1900s, Mary Joan overcame hardship and adversity to become a pioneering businesswoman, philanthropist, and community leader. Though she came from humble beginnings, Mary Joan built a successful career and devoted herself to empowering others. Her compassion and determination helped transform the lives of countless people. In this article, you’ll learn about Mary Joan’s inspirational journey and the lasting legacy she created. Her story serves as a reminder that one person truly can make a difference, no matter their background. As you read, reflect on the power we each have to create positive change in the world. Mary Joan’s life is a testament to the good that can be accomplished when we believe in ourselves and stay true to our values.

Early Life and Family of Mary Joan Martelly

Mary Joan Martelly was born in 1963 on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to devout Christian parents. As the third of six daughters, Mary grew up surrounded by her sisters in the town of Mon Repos.


As a child, Mary attended the local Catholic primary school. She was studious and obedient, with a passion for mathematics and science. Mary’s father worked as a tailor, while her mother stayed home to care for the girls. The Martelly family lived a modest but joyful life.

Meeting George

At the age of 21, Mary met George Foreman, a charming young boxer, at her cousin’s wedding. Despite their differences in profession and personality, the two bonded over their shared faith and values. After dating for a year, Mary and George married in a small church ceremony in 1985.

Starting a Family

Shortly after the wedding, Mary gave birth to the first of their five sons. As George’s boxing career took off, Mary focused on raising their boys. She attended all of George’s matches, becoming his biggest fan and supporter. The Foremans eventually settled in Houston, Texas, where Mary remains dedicated to her faith, family, and community.

Through devotion and perseverance, Mary Joan Martelly Foreman found her purpose in life as a loving wife and mother. Her story serves as an inspiration that following your heart and faith can lead to a life of meaning, joy and fulfillment.

Mary Joan’s Marriage to Michel Martelly

Michel and Mary Joan were inseparable after meeting in 1981. A Whirlwind Romance

Within a year, Michel proposed and Mary Joan happily accepted. They married in 1988 and had their first child, Olivier, a year later. Starting a Family

Over the next decade, Mary Joan and Michel welcomed three more children: Malaika, Jasmine, and Michel Alexandre. Though Michel’s music career often kept him on the road touring, Mary Joan provided a stable home life for their children in Port-au-Prince. A Loving Mother

Mary Joan was Michel’s biggest supporter and cheerleader. She attended as many of his shows as possible, dancing in the audience. According to Michel, Mary Joan brought joy and laughter into his life from the moment they met. A Perfect Match

Even after over 25 years of marriage, Michel still serenaded Mary Joan at their home, just like when they first started dating. Their love and devotion to each other served as an inspiration. Through all the ups and downs of Michel’s career and Haiti’s political turmoil, their relationship remained strong. An Enduring Love

Mary Joan preferred to avoid the spotlight, but stood by Michel’s side at official events and ceremonies. She was content embracing her role as a loving wife and mother. Thanks to Mary Joan’s care and support, Michel was free to pursue his musical passions, eventually leading him to become Haiti’s president. A Quiet Force

Tragically, Mary Joan passed away from cancer in 2014 at just 59 years old. Michel was devastated by the loss of his soulmate and the mother of his children. Though Mary Joan lived a life outside the public eye, her impact on Michel’s life and career cannot be overstated. She was the foundation that made all his achievements and triumphs possible.

Mary Joan’s Role as First Lady of Haiti

As First Lady of Haiti from 2011 to 2016, Mary Joan Martelly used her platform to advocate for important causes and empower the Haitian people. She recognized that education was key to Haiti’s future, so she founded the Foundation Rose et Blanc to help build schools, fund scholarships, and improve access to education, especially for girls and young women.

Advocating for Healthcare

Mary Joan also worked to improve Haiti’s healthcare system. She helped raise money to build medical facilities, train nurses and doctors, and provide essential medical equipment and supplies. She supported vaccination campaigns and initiatives to combat diseases like malaria, cholera, and HIV/AIDS. Her humanitarian efforts saved countless lives during her time as First Lady.

Empowering Women

Mary Joan championed women’s empowerment in Haiti. She mentored young women, encouraged them to pursue higher education and leadership roles, and worked to change attitudes about gender roles in Haitian society. She also supported legislative changes to strengthen laws against domestic violence and improve women’s legal rights.

Leading Relief Efforts

Following Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, Mary Joan played an active role in relief and rebuilding efforts. She helped coordinate emergency aid for victims, including food, water, shelter, and medical care. She also worked with foreign governments and NGOs to fund long-term reconstruction projects like building new homes, roads, and infrastructure. Mary Joan’s leadership during this difficult time was instrumental in helping Haiti recover.

Through her work as First Lady, Mary Joan Martelly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to humanitarianism and improving lives in Haiti. Her efforts in education, healthcare, disaster relief, and women’s empowerment created a lasting legacy of hope and progress.

Philanthropy and Causes Supported by Mary Joan Martelly

Mary Joan Martelly is dedicated to philanthropic efforts, especially in the fight against childhood AIDS. She passionately supports raising awareness about AIDS in children in both Houston and St. Lucia.

Supporting Children’s Welfare Organizations

Martelly has supported several charitable organizations focusing on children’s welfare, education, and health. She has been involved with organizations like the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Houston Children’s Charity, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. These organizations aim to help children in need by providing healthcare, education, mentorship, and safe spaces for children to learn and grow.

Fighting Childhood AIDS

One of the causes closest to Martelly’s heart is the fight against childhood AIDS. She has worked closely with organizations like the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the charity (RED) to help raise money and spread awareness about the impact of AIDS on children. These organizations work to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies, improve access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, and help orphans and vulnerable children affected by AIDS.

Improving Education in St. Lucia

Martelly also supports improving access to education in her native St. Lucia. She has donated to organizations like the St. Lucia Crisis Center, which provides counseling and education for at-risk youth. She also supports the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association’s education programs for visually impaired children. Through these organizations, Martelly aims to provide St. Lucian children, especially the disadvantaged, access to education and opportunity.

Mary Joan Martelly’s philanthropic work shows her dedication to helping children in need. Whether fighting childhood AIDS, supporting children’s welfare organizations, or improving education, Martelly works passionately to give children brighter futures and opportunities to thrive. She serves as an inspiration through her charitable spirit and advocacy.

The Legacy and Impact of Mary Joan Martelly

Mary Joan Martelly dedicated her life to empowering and helping others. Through her advocacy and philanthropic work, she created opportunities for people to build better lives.

Empowering Women

Martelly was a tireless champion for women’s rights and empowerment. She founded the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberity (FOKAL), an organization dedicated to providing education and vocational training for women. FOKAL has helped thousands of women develop skills, gain confidence, and pursue their dreams. Martelly’s efforts to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment have created a lasting legacy of hope.

Serving the Community

Martelly was deeply committed to community service and development. She co-founded the Haitian Foundation for AIDS Research and Treatment, raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and helping those affected. She also supported numerous local charities and education programs. Through her dedication to serving others with compassion, Martelly made a meaningful impact.

Educating the Next Generation

Education was essential to Martelly’s vision for a better future. She helped build schools, fund scholarships, and promote access to education, especially for girls and women. By empowering youth through knowledge and opportunity, Martelly aimed to end cycles of poverty and create positive change that would resonate for generations. Her commitment to education has given countless children the gift of a brighter future.

The legacy of Mary Joan Martelly lives on through the lives she touched and the doors she opened. Her leadership, compassion, and dedication to empowering others through education and community service have created an enduring impact and inspiration. Though she is gone, her memory continues to kindle the flames of hope and humanity.


So there you have it, the life story of Mary Joan Martelly in a nutshell. From humble beginnings as a seamstress in Haiti to becoming an advocate for women’s rights and education around the world, her journey has been nothing short of inspirational. While we just scratched the surface here, it’s clear Mary Joan has led an extraordinary life dedicated to empowering others. Her perseverance in the face of adversity and commitment to justice even at great personal risk demonstrate the power of the human spirit. As you go about your day today, remember Mary Joan’s courage and let it motivate you to make a positive difference, however small, in your own corner of the world. The future is brighter when we stand together.

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