Martha Morris

  • "In high school, her class was one of my favorites. Decades..."
    - Vicki Gauthier
  • "I had Mrs. Morris for Honors American Lit in about 2000...."
    - Carly Taylor
  • "Martha was one of the best teachers I ever had. My daughter..."
    - Jane Perry
  • "A truly remarkable teacher and certainly one of the best! ..."
  • "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good..."
    - ~Jo-Ann Lowell

NORTHFIELD - Martha (Stromgren) Morris, 67, died at Central Vermont Medical Center early in the morning of Jan. 25, 2013.

The daughter of Eric and Ida Stromgren, Marty was born in 1945, in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she attended Erasmus High School. She graduated from Wagner College on Staten Island, N.Y., in 1966. After two years of high school teaching in Fair Lawn, N.J., she moved to Barre. She taught American literature at Spaulding High School for 38 years. She was voted Outstanding Teacher in 1987 and twice was the recipient of the Jay Trombley Award before retiring in 2006. In 1975, she married Christopher Morris, of Northfield. They were married for 37 years and had two sons, Jason, 35, of San Francisco, and Daniel, 31, of Rock Island, Ill.

Marty had an extraordinary memory, which was most evident in the details of her knowledge and concern for other people, for her students, friends and casual acquaintances. While she taught at Spaulding, she served as a mentor and guide to thousands of students. Her ability to remember their names, skills and passions endeared her to generations of Spaulding graduates.

A voracious reader and talented writer, Marty loved meeting with her several book groups and poetry circles. She was always reading a new novel and welcomed conversations with friends and family members about the meanings she found in literature, drama and visual art. She wrote a book of poems on love, nature, family and finitude, that she distributed to those close to her.

A gifted craftswoman who created beautiful quilts and sweaters, she sold her work at craft fairs and markets all over Vermont, and shared her creations with new parents among her friends and former students. According to conservative estimates, she created roughly 5,000 baby sweaters in a 25-year knitting career. Observers noted that Marty would not stop until all babies were sufficiently warmed.

Her joy for living was manifested in her poetry and crafts, but also in her love of travel and foreign languages. She lived as a student in Austria and later with her family in Poland and also again, in Austria. She traveled throughout the United States and to Puerto Rico. She was an avid and talented skier, as well as a great dancer and singer, active in her church choir and in an annual singing of the "Messiah." She will be very dearly missed by her husband and two sons, her daughter-in-law, her nieces, nephews and granddaughter, by her many loving friends and by generations of former students.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, at White Chapel on the Norwich University campus in Northfield, followed by a reception in Milano Ballroom.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Montpelier, Spaulding High School Library or Heifer International.
Published in Times Argus on Jan. 29, 2013