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Martha M Wenger

August 22, 1932 ~ November 3, 2018 (age 86)

Martha Marie Vollmers Wenger quietly passed from this life on Saturday, November 3, 2018, with her family and friends at her side. Martha was born on August 22, 1932, to Arthur Peter and Berdella Vollmers in Red Wing, Minnesota. She grew up in a large and generous family that included five siblings (Charles, Peter, James, Jane, and Mark), and a number of foster children. She married shortly after graduating from Red Wing High School, working full time to support her husband during his undergraduate days in St. Peter, Minnesota, and graduate school days in Champaign, Illinois. She moved to Willmar and then Spicer, Minnesota, where she started a family, first with a son (Michael) and then a daughter (Susan). She moved that family to El Paso, Texas; Pocatello, Idaho; and then Caldwell, Idaho, where both of her children graduated from Caldwell High School. In 1983 she moved to Waldport, Oregon, where she later divorced. She and her daughter lived in Waldport until 2017, when they relocated one last time back to Caldwell, Idaho, in part to be close to her granddaughter and great grandson.

Martha touched everyone who knew her with her generosity, kindness, and humor, which could sometimes tend to the silly. During her time in Caldwell, she bonded with a lifelong group of friends who could be found with glasses of wine in hand, sometimes wearing beards, and always laughing. She was a regular volunteer at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, where, among other activities, she was involved with the Candy Striper program. Her bright white hair and diminutive stature made her easy to spot and, along with her cheerful and welcoming spirit, earned her the nickname of "Grandma" among her children's friends. During her years in Waldport, that welcoming spirit allowed her to shine as the office manager of the Newport, Oregon, Chamber of Commerce. She became something of a local celebrity after she began co-hosting a radio show that covered events on the central coast. And she was a regular and beloved fixture at the annual Newport Seafood and Wine Festival. She cherished living on the Oregon coast, sometimes taking multiple walks each day on the beach, and she learned to paint the beautiful grays, blues, and greens of the sea and shore. For a woman who was naturally full of life, living near the ocean filled her with even more life.

Martha's faith was very important to her. She was a regular member of churches in every place that she lived, and was a long-time and beloved member of the fellowships at Faith Lutheran Church in Caldwell, and St. Luke's By The Sea Episcopal Church in Waldport. On the day she passed---the eve of All Saints Day---she was listening to Matthew's account of the resurrection.

Martha is survived by her one remaining sibling, Mark, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; her daughter, Susan of Caldwell, Idaho; her son, Michael, of Norman, Oklahoma; her granddaughter Ashley and her husband Casey, of Nampa, Idaho; her granddaughter Anwen, of Norman, Oklahoma; and her great grandson, Nixon, of Nampa, Idaho. A service celebrating Martha's life is being planned for the end of February, 2019, following the close of the Seafood and Wine Festival in Newport, Oregon. Details about the celebration can be obtained from either Susan Cummings (sue.cummings0561@gmail.com) or Michael Wenger (michael.j.wenger@ou.edu). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Martha's memory be made to either St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (www.stjude.org) or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.bcrf.org), to continue the generosity that was so central to Martha's life.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com

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