Ellen Martin, 81, died peacefully at her home in Verona on Aug. 18, 2019.
She was born on Jan. 4, 1938, in Plymouth to Arno and Eva (Flath) Winter. She grew up on a small farm surrounded by an apple orchard outside of Glenbeulah. A graduate of Plymouth High School, she built on her strong interests in fashion, cooking and sewing to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from University of Wisconsin-Madison. When she met Leo Martin, she was serving as Home Economics agent in Grant County. They were married in Madison in 1961 and settled on the east side of the city. Her house was where the neighborhood kids came for fresh cookies.
A new adventure began in 1971 when her family moved to a small farm west of Wausau, where she helped care for livestock and make hay. She took pride in her productive garden, from which she canned, pickled and froze enough of summer’s bounty to last through the winter. Yet, she made time to plant a prairie that she loved to run her hands over. She kept an eye on the beauty of the sky and clouds, and she loved to watch and feed birds. She read widely and enjoyed sharing books and discussing their meaning with family and friends, especially the Unabridged Club. She also liked to camp in Wisconsin State Parks. She earned a nursing degree, and worked with the Red Cross and other organizations in the Wausau area. With Leo, she was very involved in supporting Helping Hands, a Wausau-based organization that helps people meet their basic shelter and education needs, and traveled to serve partner communities in Kenya and Jamaica. In 2016, she moved to Verona, WI where she had more time to visit friends, work on jigsaw puzzles, and roam farmer’s markets.
Ellen is survived by her sister, Virginia (Wesley) Stevens of Winnipeg, Canada; children Mary (Bob) Snieckus of Silver Spring, Maryland, Michael (Stacey) Martin of Madison and Kathy (Brian) Martin of San Jose, California; grandchildren Brian (Cami) Martin of Madison, Kirstin (Collin) Hulick of Madison, and Ruth Chapman of Silver Spring, Maryland; along with numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews; as well as other special family members who knew her as Grandma Ellen. She was preceded in death by her husband, Leo, and their infant daughter Mary Joanne.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church, 5313 Flad Ave, Madison. Family will greet friends from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass. Burial will follow mass at Resurrection Cemetery, 2705 Regent St. Guests are welcome to join the family after burial for a luncheon to celebrate Ellen’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that guests bring a children’s book to the visitation to be donated in Ellen’s memory.
Please share your memories at www.cressfuneralservice.com.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison