Martha Alice Padden(1919 - 2019)

October 19, 1919 ˜ October 24, 2019

Martha Alice (Merkle) Padden left this world five days after her 100th birthday, issuing words of acceptance, gratitude, and love. The third of five children, Martha was born in Butte, Montana to Maude and Horace Merkle. In 1925, the family moved to the Mt. Tabor neighborhood of Portland, Oregon where roses grew through the sidewalks. Growing up, Martha took dance and piano lessons, and loved going to the “pictures” at the Bagdad Theatre on Hawthorne. Her love of fashion started young, she admired the clothing the actresses wore onscreen and, always a lover of a bargain, she would pay a dressmaker to sew replicas of their outfits. Driving by age 12, she chauffeured her mother down the windy roads to Seaside, and shuttled nuns to the Grotto, where she played the organ. Martha attended St. Stephen’s, Washington High, and The Madeleine, where she was captain of the basketball team. At Oregon State University, she chose her sorority based on décor, and loved spending time with her girlfriends on the banks of the Willamette River, waving at the crew team.
Martha left school to work in the shipyards during WWII. In 1945, she met a handsome naval officer, Mike Padden; they were married January 19, 1946. As Mike worked for US Steel they moved between Seattle, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Chicago.
Martha found sustenance in her neighbors, her Catholic faith, and her morning walks to daily mass. Each summer she returned to Seaside to host visitors, play bridge, and visit her girlhood friends.
Martha was the maypole her family danced around. She created deep bonds with all of her children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Hosting large family gatherings, cooking Sunday dinners, playing the piano, sharing stories and recipes, sending a note she strove for a connection with every person she met.
Martha is survived by her seven children: Michael (Laura) of Spokane Valley, WA, Marybeth (Wayne Nelson) of Vancouver, WA, Barbara (Dave Dalbotten) of Edmonds, WA, Nancy (Rich Kay) of Kenmore, WA, Richard (Laurie) of Seattle, WA, Peggy of Portland, OR, Charlene (Tom Foley) of Vancouver, WA; son-in-law, Glen Shearer of Vancouver, WA; 25 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom will miss her dearly.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Mike; her parents; her siblings, Jary, Don, Helen and Joe; her infant son, Charles; and her grandson, Jake Shearer.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph’s Parish in Vancouver, WA, on Monday, November 4th at 11 a.m, with a rosary service preceding the funeral at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.
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Published in The Columbian on Oct. 30, 2019