PRISCILA E. MARTINS-READ
An Incredible Life, Extraordinarily Well-Lived
Priscila Martins-Read, a wonderfully-talented woman of incredible love, generosity, and adventure, was born March 17, 1951, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the first child of Basilio P. Martins and Lucy Sant’Anna Martins. Growing up in a small rural farming town, she jumped off the rafters into the sun-dried coffee beans stored in her grandfather’s silo, pole-vaulted over (or into) a small stream, and ran away from the cows being herded through the town’s streets.
Awarded a scholarship to attend college in the United States, and asked for an immediate decision between schools in Kansas and Oregon, she quickly looked at a map, saw Oregon’s mountains, forests, and ocean, and chose Northwest Christian College in Eugene, where she met Chuck Burns.
Priscila and Chuck married two years later, had two children, Samantha (who, grown up, brought Corey into the family) and Jonathan (Brittany), and she proudly became a U.S. citizen. Priscila and Chuck divorced, but worked together to raise their children into strong, capable adults.
Priscila’s ”True North” _ her ever-present Hallmark, really _ was ingrained generosity towards others. Even as a single mom with only a part-time job, she always bought extra food to donate to food drives. Troubled by the plight of Brazilian orphans, she completed the requirements to become licensed as an adoption agency so she could bring young children to American homes; for this work Priscila was recognized as a ”Woman of Achievement” in Clark County’s very first class of honorees.
In 1986 Priscila married Dale Read, Jr. Together, they added Andrew (Kait) to their family, and then later adopted Eddie and Tori.
Like all of her Brazilian family, Priscila had an amazing gift for languages, and spoke fluent, unaccented English. A longtime faculty member at Clark College, she worked primarily with refugees and exchange students, and proudly saw several of her foreign-language students become published authors in English. Clark’s students and administration recognized her as the 2009 recipient of their highest faculty honor for teaching excellence.
Throughout her life, Priscila drew strength and awe from nature. She cherished memories of forest trails and waterfalls, of whales swimming with their calves, of hearing the sound of frogs and birds in her own backyard, and of spotting nests of eagles or owls. Special favorites were America’s National Parks _ whether the majestic presence of Mount Rainier, the brilliantly-colored hoodoo formations at Bryce Canyon, or any of the other 27 parks she visited.
An amateur photographer, Priscila’s work hung in private homes, was chosen for inclusion in an anthology highlighting the work of local photographers, and, several times, was selected by various national Internet sites as their photo of the day. After retiring, she volunteered at the Oregon Humane Society, where her photomontage posters drew attention to featured animals and increased the adoption rate.
Over and above everything, and the central focus of her life, was her love for her family, the obvious joy she received from every moment spent together, and the opportunity to create special memories with them (”Who wants to bake cheesy breads?”; ”Let’s build your own toy.”) She is survived by her husband of 33 years; her children; her mother; brother, Basilio; sisters, Flavia and Lais; four nieces and nephews; and 9 very special grandchildren: Jordan (the scholar), Lola (the sensitive writer-scientist), Orion (the builder-engineer), Luke (the athlete), Baylei (the redhead), Ellie (the exuberant one), Freya (the serious ball of love), Maggie (the almost toddler), and baby Theo (certainly destined for some esoteric field).
A memorial fund for breast cancer research has been established at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue North (MS-J5200), Seattle, WA 98109
Please sign her guest book @ www.columbian.com/obits
Published by The Columbian on Mar. 15, 2020.