Valeria A. Martin
Thursday, September 27, 1928
Date of Death:
Thursday, November 30, 2017
89 years old
Valeria A. Martin
Val Martin died on November 30, 2017 at Holy Cross Village, Notre Dame, Indiana. She was born Valeria Ann Kennedy in 1928 in Winona, Minnesota, and was the first of four children born to John Francis and Ethel (Hughes) Kennedy. Val and her siblings (Catherine Roeder, Geraldine Lunzer, and John Kennedy) grew up in Rochester. Her high school yearbook picture is appropriately captioned “Three-fifths of her is talent, and two-fifths is sheer fun.” Although a family friend offered to cover her college education costs, Val chose to enter nurses training at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, instead. She was an outstanding nurse, especially in working with the mentally ill, and she was given major hospital responsibilities (and had many adventures) before she had even graduated from the program. At Saint Mary’s Hospital, on “7 Med,” Val met her husband-to-be, Harold R. Martin, a resident psychiatrist on the same floor.
Hal and Val married in 1952. They flew in Hal’s family’s air coup to Florida for their honeymoon and then moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Hal had been offered a position at the Institute of Living. Having developed an interest in the theatre in high school (and enjoyed a spectacular visit to NYC to visit a friend in the theatre while still in school), Val took advantage of the opportunity to travel to New York frequently to see Broadway plays. She and Hal continued regular theatre going from that point on at the Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota and, whenever possible, during their travels. In 1954 their first son, Glenn, was born. They then moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where Hal worked as a psychiatrist at the University hospital and as a member of the medical school faculty. In 1956, Holly was born, and in 1958 Joseph was born. Hal received an offer to join the Mayo Clinic (and later its medical school faculty), and so Hal and Val returned to Rochester, where Val’s extended family had remained. Martha was born in 1960 in Rochester.
Val was a prodigious reader, especially of literature, history, archaeology, and mystery novels set abroad, and, after arriving in Rochester, Hal and Val began traveling to Mexico and Guatemala to visit the archaeological ruins. These visits soon included taking the children with them on summer trips to Mexico for the same purpose. Travel with the children continued in 1968 with a trip to Greece, Italy, and Spain. After some years living in Rochester, Val and Hal moved to the country where they raised horses, cattle, and later sheep, pigs and chickens (along with many dogs and cats) on a small family farm. Val ran the farm while Hal practiced medicine, and she became an expert cow and sheep midwife. The responsibilities of the farm and of caring for Hal’s parents (H.G. and Nell Martin), did not end their travels. They visited Mexico, Egypt, Ireland, England, Russia, and much of Europe together, as well as taking many trips within the U.S. with their children.
In addition to raising her children, running the farm with Hal, reading and traveling, Val gardened. She created flower gardens, shade gardens, rose gardens, vegetable gardens, among others, and complemented her gardening by learning and practicing ikebana. She also developed an interest in her families’ genealogy and traveled, studied, and made friends in the U.S. and Ireland while researching it. Hal and Val were best friends and companions in work and adventures and were never for a moment bored.
When Hal died in 1992, Val moved back into Rochester. She volunteered as a guardian ad litem and as a bailiff in the courts. Her reading and traveling continued with numerous trips to Canada and Europe as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Mongolia, Morocco, most of the countries in South America, and the Antarctic. Beginning in 2001, she traveled yearly with her daughter, Holly, to the American Southwest to explore the Native American ruins as well as the present culture. Her traveling did not come to an end when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. After the diagnosis she traveled with her son Joe (and his son, Nick) to Alaska to see the Arctic Ocean. She traveled with Holly to Pipestone, Minnesota, and later to Moab, Utah (one of her favorite places by the Colorado river), with Holly and her family. Her final “big” trip was to Santa Fe and Taos with Holly and Holly’s daughter, Emma.
In 2012 Val moved to South Bend, Indiana, where she could live in assisted living and be within minutes of Glenn and Holly. She thoroughly enjoyed being able to see Glenn participate in living history events near her new home. Her final trips were to Minnesota to visit family, her Aunt Kate’s farmhouse near Stewartville, and Hal’s grave at St. Bridget’s in Simpson.
Val lived a full and adventurous life. She is survived by her four children, her twelve grandchildren, one great grandchild, and two of her siblings, Gerry and John. She was a remarkable daughter, sister, nurse, wife, mother, friend, farmer, grandmother, and adventurer.
Her sense of fun and brave pursuit of new experiences, along with her intelligence, good sense, and loving care of others, has had a lasting impact and makes her very much missed.
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