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New Castle, DE 19720
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Martha E. Shipe

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Martha died early Christmas evening in the comfort of her home, surrounded by her loving family, during a thunderstorm - God's way of calling her home and celebrating her life with a spectacular unseasonal display of nature. There was no more fitting way for her to leave us.

Born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, on June 19, 1921, Martha grew up along the Susquehanna River in Sunbury with her two sisters, Betty and Peg. Her father taught her to canoe and shoot frogs to sell the legs to local restaurants. She was a drummer in the high school band and was known as "Shorty" on the girls' basketball team. She attended Business College in Philadelphia and worked at Westinghouse.

Martha married Wes Shipe in 1944 and after many moves, courtesy of the DuPont Company ,settled in Delaware in the 1950s. She taught kindergarten and substituted at DeLaWarr High School.

While raising three children she was very active in many volunteer organizations, holding multiple leadership positions, often several at the same time. Her interests ranged from traffic safety(WITS-Women in Traffic Safety, Delaware Safety Council, Highway Safety users), to children (John G. Leach School pool volunteer, Camp Manito, United Cerebral Palsy), to the Swanwyck Garden Club. When automobile seatbelts were first introduced, her catchphrase became "Always remember to "Buckle Up". As part of one of her safety activities, she earned her motorcycle license and then returned it, saying "I will never use it!"

She was very involved in her children's activities as a chaperone, home room mother, and Scout leader. Her first plane ride was to chaperone the DeLaWarr band trip to the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. While not enjoying flying, she did take a glider ride in Stowe, Vermont. Martha did not let that fear stop her from travelling with Wes to Europe several times and to many places in the states.

She was a charter member of Hope Lutheran Church in New Castle, Delaware. At Hope, Martha served on Council, and taught both Sunday school and confirmation classes. She was instrumental in starting the child care and the food pantry. Her embroidery talents are displayed in the altar cloth.

Martha's creativity took many forms - whether baking scrumptious desserts or filling her home with her handiwork, from the braided rugs on the floors to the embroidered pictures on the walls. And she loved to have her friends around her dining room table.

Martha and Wes enjoyed travelling and found a second home in Stowe, Vermont. For 25 years, Martha would leave Delaware in May and "summer" in Vermont until October when she was "dragged, kicking and screaming" from her peaceful retreat. In Vermont, she was a member of Stowe Community Church and Morrisville Golf Club. She enjoyed entertaining her friends there and giving them a whirlwind tour of Stowe and surrounding areas!

Martha loved her dogs and tried her best to never be without one. She frequently told others "they needed to get a dog" - thinking everyone needed one!

Martha is survived by her daughter, Jo Ellen Freida and Al Colombo; son, Jonathan Shipe and wife Connie; sister Margaret (Peg) Woodhead; and caregiver, Pat Willey. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Wendy Sadowski, Kimberly Elkey, Leanne Martin, John Freida Jr, Johnathan Freida, Russell Sarbora, Michael Sarbora, Jonna Shipe, and Taylor Shipe, nine great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, James Wesley Shipe, Jr.; a son, James W. Shipe III; and her sister Betty Wirth.

A memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church 230 Christiana Rd., New Castle, DE 19720 on January 26, 2016, 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Lutheran Community Services or Hope Lutheran Church. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family.

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Published in The News Journal from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, 2016
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