Olive May Martin (nee: Sackett) died peacefully at her home in Gresham, OR with her loving family on May 5, 2023, at the age of 102 years, 9 months.
Born August 10, 1920 to Earl and Clorra Sackett at their family home at Happy Hollow near Elma, she was the second youngest and final surviving of 12 siblings. The family raised their children and survived the depression without indoor plumbing, electricity, or (inexplicably) the internet!
A bright puckish child Olive attended grade school at the Hunter’s Prairie one-room schoolhouse near Elma. She graduated from Elma High School in the class of 1938, and vividly remembered President Franklin Roosevelt visiting Elma and the Olympic Peninsula that year for his evaluation of the then proposed Olympic National Park.
Woodrow Wilson (D) was president when she was born, and FDR (D) was president during her teenage years and early twenties. Harding (R) Coolidge (R) and Hoover (R) were presidents during the hard years between, possibly cementing her politically as a passionate and well-informed Democrat. She followed current events and political developments closely throughout her long life. She was opinionated without however being judgmental.
The lady was a true exemplar of “the greatest generation.” She endured the great depression and World War II, the coronavirus pandemic, grieved Pearl Harbor and 9/11, and raised her children (as well as a black bear named “Buster”) to somewhat normal adulthood. Olive was also an expert seamstress, and during the covid epidemic put her talent to use at the age of 99 making masks for her family and friends.
She was a life-long learner and reader of history, mysteries, and spy novels, as well as an avid competitor in puzzles and games with her friends and family whom she regularly and enthusiastically bested. Her mind was alert and engaged throughout her long life.
Married to Forest “Carby” Martin, a logger, she raised her two sons James (Jay) and Robert (Bob) in Florence, Oregon. When she (perhaps mistakenly) deemed the boys sufficiently able to avoid serious trouble without her supervision, she returned to college earning a BS degree in education from the University of Oregon in 1966, no small undertaking, since it required a one-way commute of 60 miles to Eugene. This was not something a mother in her forties did in those days, and she became something of a local celebrity. Her commitment to learning and the importance of education was an object lesson for her sons and her community. After college she taught grade school in Florence until her retirement in 1986. She educated herself despite feminine stereotypes, and was an interesting, engaged, admired, and optimistic soul to the end of her days.
Olive was predeceased by her parents Earl and Clorra (nee Dyer) Sackett, her husband Forest Martin, and all her siblings who were in order of birth: Harold Sackett, Doris Sackett, Clara Jones, Ethel Wickstrom, Howard Sackett, Harry Sackett, Hesley Sackett, Grace Parkhurst, Herbert Sackett, Hiram Sackett, and Gladys Ott.
Olive is survived by her sons James Martin (Cheryl) Robert Martin (Denison Rauw) a step-daughter Darlene Casey her grandchildren Vickie Beraka (Jason), James Albert Martin, Brook Martin, and Eric Martin, special great grand-daughter Eva Bryner, step great grandson Sage Baraka, nieces Donna Smith, Elaine Weber, Carol Thompson, Virginia Owens, Janice Morgan, Karen Herguth, nehpews Verlain Sackett, and Dale Sackett. She is also survived by numerous other nieces, nephews, great grandchildren, and step grandchildren, all of whom she remembered and loved.
Olive was small in stature, spiritually strong with a loving heart, intelligent, independent, unassuming, and tough. We will not soon see her like again.
“The human heartbeat is the first music a child hears. Thus at birth each child knows the rhythm their mother’s song.” [Paraphrased from Kate Morton in “The Clockmaker’s Daughter”]
We still hear your song Mom.
*Sackett family home, Happy Valley near Elma, WA (circa 1925)
*Sackett family at Hesley’s memorial service 1949. (Missing: Doris d. 1915, age 9)