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Urban, Martha M. (McDowell)
87, of Lasell Village, Newton, passed away Feb. 10 after a brief period of declining health. Born May 21, 1925 to Roy and Myrtle McDowell in Sharon, PA, she attended Sharon public schools and graduated with a Bachelor's from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. In 1947 she married Alfred J. Urban of Dorchester, MA and they moved to the Chicago area to raise their family in Winnetka, IL. In retirement, she and Fred lived in Evanston, IL and Starlake, WI before relocating to the Boston area. Fred died in 1999 and Martha moved into Lasell Village in 2000 as one of its original members. She will be greatly missed by her children, Guy and wife Charlyn Bethell of Watertown, MA, Jane and husband Mark Dannenhauer of Shutesbury, MA, and John of Evanston, IL, as well as her beloved grandchildren, Cody and Amy Urban and Rafer Dannenhauer. Besides Fred, she was preceded in death by her parents and her two brothers, William and Harold. She is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and nephews, as well as her sister-in-law, Frances Van Kleeck. At the time of her death, she was a member of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Watertown, and before that she and Fred were members of UU fellowships in Winnetka, IL and Woodruff, WI. No matter where she lived, she was active in local peace and environmental groups, the Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters and other civic groups. As an editor, she was a founding member of the Assoc. of Women in Communications and had her own consulting business, Urban Editorial Services. She loved walking in the Wisconsin north woods and swimming in their lake, attending classical music concerts, especially when Guy and Charlyn performed, and she loved her new life at Lasell Village where she was very active in cultural and social events and groups. A celebration of her life will happen in the spring at the First Parish UU of Watertown. Memorial donations can be made to restore First Parish's piano with a check to First Parish with "piano restoration fund" in the memo line, 35 Church St., Watertown, MA or to Thornton & Naumes/48 Francis St. Housing Fund at Brigham & Women's Hospital, 116 Huntington Ave., 5th Fl., Boston, MA 02116, as part of the International Mesothelioma Program, or to a charity of your choosing.

Published in The Boston Globe on Feb. 17, 2013
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