VASILEFF, MARTHA S. Martha Schober Vasileff was a pillar of countless communities during her lifetime. Her unwavering joy for life and generosity of spirit made her beloved by all those who met her. Born in Budapest to Hungary’s Minister of Trade, she was schooled in Switzerland before leaving Europe for Canada at the outbreak of World War II. During the war, she worked as a “Farmerette” to pick and ship produce to soldiers fighting overseas. She attended the University of Toronto where she majored in archaeology and created the Native Canadian exhibit at the Royal Museum of Ontario. She met her husband Henry on St. Valentine’s Day at a Sadie Hawkins Dance. They moved to the US and had two children, daughter Lili and son Michael. Throughout her life, Martha worked tirelessly in the fields of education, charitable giving, and the arts. She was one of the first women to ever earn a 6-year Teachers Certificate from Southern Connecticut State University and went on to become the President of its Phi Delta Kappa chapter for many years, eventually receiving the Key Award for Excellence. As the librarian at Amity High School, she introduced students to the latest developments in A/V technology, taught photography courses that led to several student awards, and was instrumental in establishing the library at Beecher Road Elementary. A longtime resident of Woodbridge, she famously planted corn in her dirt road to convince the town it needed paving. She was a passionate member of the First Church of Christ where she played in the bell choir and composed poems for Sunday services that went on to receive publication. She was a stage manager in the community theater and co-wrote and produced a play about the history of Woodbridge. She volunteered for the Special Olympics in New Haven, heading up its Thousand Voices Choir. She lived her life with a hunger for knowledge that encompassed both the discoveries of modern science and the mysteries of the everyday. In true form, one of her personal projects was to transcribe all of the English words that used all five vowels – not by searching online, but rather by discovering them while she read. She ended up with a tower of alphabetized index cards. She always asked questions, she grew everyday. She spoke Hungarian, German, French, and English. She traveled throughout the world, yet no matter where she went someone would ask, “Aren’t you Mrs. V?” She introduced the arts to her grandchildren Nathaniel (a novelist), Alexandra (a painter), and Natalie (a musician). She loved people and formed friendships that spanned decades. She was tenacious, creative, and joyous. She’s moved on to the next adventure to discover what’s what. In lieu of flowers, Martha’s family has requested donations be made to Allie’s Dream, an arts and creative program for special needs adults named for her granddaughter. Donations may be sent to 26 Maple Vale Drive, Woodbridge, CT 06525 or made online at AlliesDream.org. The memorial service will be held on Monday, November 18 at 11:00 am at The First Church of Christ, 5 Meetinghouse Lane, Woodbridge. Reception to follow.
Published in The New Haven Register on Nov. 17, 2013