Sunday, February 7, 2016

Marvelous Martha

They say deaths come in threes.  Today we lost the third friend in three days.  This one, like Richard's death, hurts.

In between Richard's death on Thursday and today's sad passing of Martha Dickman, Walt lost his co-worker and friend of more than 50 years, Al Almquist, whose 100th birthday party we attended last year.  Obviously his death was not a shock, but every death is a shock, isn't it?

Martha was one of those people that I considered friend, though I don't know that we ever had in-depth conversations.  We just were involved in the same things and around each other often, at various times in our lives and saw each other frequently enough that it never occurred to me that she was anything other than a friend.  I interviewed her several times for one newspaper article or another.

She was a member of the Davis Comic Opera Co. throughout its entire thirty year history, whether performing or helping put the production together.

She was a soloist in a blues band for many years.

When Citizens Who Care, that group that gives care to the frail elderly and their caregivers here in Davis, was looking for a fund raiser, Martha and Stephen Peithman formed a group which performed for some 12 years, the largest CWC fund raiser each year, giving unselfishly of their talents to raise money for a good cause.

I don't know which year this photo was taken, but several years ago.  The make-up of the group changed over the years but Martha and Steve (standing next to her in the back) produced and were in every show.  

When Martha's voice began to lose its oomph, she performed with a mic (by their last performance, in 2014, many other aging performers were now using mics).  Martha also loaned her grand piano, which was transferred to and from the theater every year.

But over and above the performing, I will always remember Martha as a gentle, elegant lady, always willing to help young performers (when, in the early days of Lawsuit, Paul was having trouble sustaining his voice throughout a 2 hour show, she worked with him to give him tricks for how to keep his voice going).

"She was one of a kind. And one of the kindest, most loving and supportive people in my theatre family," wrote someone on Facebook.  "Martha was a personal inspiration and force of nature, and always made my heart sing." wrote another. "A sweet and gentle person."

The last time I saw Martha was at a thank you reception last fall for those involved with CWC, where she was specially honored.  They encouraged her to sing a bit and today I am regretting that I only recorded about 45 seconds of her song....but obviously even at 90, the pipes were still strong.

NOTICE TO THE WORLD:  I do not want to write another obituary for several months, please!

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