Martha Widmer was born in Monongahela, on December 14, 1927. She was the youngest of eleven children born to Rudolph and Mary Widmer (nee Paulick.) She was raised on the banks of the Monongahela River by a first generation immigrant family who made a living in the coalfields of Pennsylvania. She was a child of the Great Depression, and witnessed her brothers marching off to war in 1942.
She became a passionate roller skater in her 20’s, and a prolific bowler in her 30’s and beyond. Her many lifelong friendships, and team competitions were lovingly preserved with hotel ashtrays, playing cards, and towels that mysteriously found their way home.
She worked behind the counter in a Monongahela department store, where she would meet her future husband, James Smyers, a decorated veteran. Her first impression of him, as she described; “…a girl could get lost in his eyes and wavy hair.” They married in 1955, and settled first in Mckeesport. Greenville would become their home for over 50 years. James passed in 2019.
Martha had a “green thumb.” She could rescue greenery from the brink of disaster, simply by being in its presence. Family would bring her a failing plant, and take it home after a miraculous recovery.
She loved jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, the Turner Classic Movie channel, and just about any black & white western ever filmed. And Scotch. Doctors will debate in journals whether her longevity was credited to her love of a good single malt, or in spite of her proclivity for it. The first round would be poured precisely at 9pm, and by 11:30pm, all the world’s problems would have been solved with anyone in attendance.
She is survived by son James (Lisa), and daughter Iris (David) Smyers-Hale. She is also survived by Greg Rowe, and James Stahl, sons by choice, whom she deeply cherished. She leaves two grandchildren, Amanda Fink, of Silver Springs, MD, and Rebecca (Seth) Rogers, of Alexandria, OH. She leaves extended family Jane-Ann Stahl, Laura (nee Stahl) Baer, and Leslie (nee Stahl) Keaveney. She cherished her nieces, Cathy Recaldini, and Sandra (Gene) Reynolds, and nephew Leonard (Linda) Widmer.
The family requests a remembrance of Martha with a donation to Strayhaven Animal Shelter (www.strayhavenanimalshelter.com), 94 Donation Road, Greenville, PA. 16125.
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