Remembering Peace Walker Mary Louise Martin

Obituary by Her Son John Martin

Mary was born May 10, 1936, in Langlois, Oregon, the youngest daughter of Eva Mary Capps and John Manley Donaldson. She died December 7, 2021 in Providence Saint Vincent Medical Center following a heart aneurysm.

Mary grew up on the family farm in Langlois, Oregon, during lean times in the aftermath of the depression. She was deeply influenced by both the frugality and the generosity of her father John and mother Eva who ranched cattle and managed the store and post office in Langlois. There was always an extra seat at the Donaldson table for anyone less fortunate. Mary graduated from Langlois’ Pacific High School in 1954.

Mrs. Mary Louise Martin of McMinnville, Oregon

A memorial service for Mary Louise Martin, 85, McMinnville, will be held at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, December 22, at First Baptist Church, 125 E. Cowls St. in McMinnville.

Mary married her high school sweetheart, Noel A. Martin in January, 1955. They soon moved to McMinnville where Mary supported Noel through graduation from Linfield College. Mary and Noel joined the First Baptist Church and centered their lives on raising their four children.

In the early 1970’s Mary and four other McMinnville women opened The Bookstore (now Third Street Books). The five friends operated the downtown business as a hub for cultural, educational, and civic enrichment.

Shortly after partnering at The Bookshop, Mary earned her real estate license and began a 45-year career at Willamette West Realty. A successful realtor who was named Realtor of the Year in 1995, Mary spent much of her professional time working to ensure that those less financially able had a willing and able champion toward home ownership.

Mary undertook much of her philanthropic work through the First Baptist Church, where in the last years of her life she worked tirelessly addressing the needs of the unhoused in McMinnville. However, her giving spread far beyond the work of the church. Her children, grandchildren, extended family members, students passing through Linfield, and neighbors all had their lives deeply impacted by Mary’s generosity. As an unwavering friend to those living on the street, Mary always carried clean socks and emergency food to go along with her warm greeting.

In 2017 the town of McMinnville honored Mary as Woman of the Year in recognition of her lifelong service as a leading business owner, generous philanthropist, and committed civic activist.

John and Mary in a recent memory made with love.

Mary is survived by her children, Noel Martin and wife, Gail, John Martin and partner, Kayann Short, Stacy Martin and husband, Robert Higgins, Robert Martin and wife, Cheryl; sister, Ruth Engelbart; grandchildren Kelly Martin, Amanda Martin, Rachel Martin, Ariane Streeter, Eva Higgins-Martin, Rebecca Higgins, Adam Higgins, Adrian Martin, Ian Martin; and great grandchildren, Holly, Faye, Collin, Jacob, Cortland and Ruby.

She was preceded in death by her husband Noel, her brother Jack, and her grandson Noel Daniel

The family suggest memorial contributions be sent to the Mary Donaldson Scholarship Fund (Mary Martin’s beloved aunt) at Western Oregon University or to the First Baptist Church Endowment Fund.

Please contact us if you want to send memories, stories or thoughts to be printed in a bulletin that will be distributed at the service.

With concern about our family, friends and community we ask that you do not attend Mary’s memorial service in person if you are unvaccinated, feeling unwell, or it is unsafe to travel. We ask you to wear a mask inside the church and to sign in when you arrive with contact information in case it is needed. For those unable to attend but would like to watch, the service will be live streamed through the First Baptist Church’s Facebook Page.

Please help honor Mary’s memory with a peace action in her name or another loved one.


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