It is with profound sadness that the family announces Martha's passing. She died peacefully at LHSC-University Hospital in London, Ontario on May 6, 2016 in her 89th year, surrounded by her immediate family. Loving wife of the late Barry Connell Steers (2011) for more than 59 years, Martha Steers (nee Molina Vélez) will be missed by Connell (Sue), Sara (Bob), Greg (Anne), her seven grandchildren, Tamber, Ryan, Claire, Charlie, Sophia, Pilar and Gabriel, and great-grandchildren, Arabella and Grayden. She is survived by her siblings Ignacio Molina, Amparo Molina Gomez, and Horacio Molina of Medellin, Colombia and by her sisters-in-law, Peggy Steers and Mary Smallman of London, Ont. Her parents, Arturo Molina Restrepo and Sofia Vélez Molina, predeceased her. Martha was born in Medellin, Colombia, the tenth of 14 children. In 1947, her father, Don Arturo Molina, sent her and her sister to Brescia University College (Brescia Hall) in London, Ont. Martha flourished at Brescia in spite of the distance and a new language, an example of her strength, resilience, adaptability and fearless approach to life. Upon graduation, she returned to Medellin and brought the new field of dietetics to its main hospital. Martha met Barry on a blind date at the Brescia Ball and their attraction to each other was immediate. They were married in 1952. Martha was a full partner of Barry's career as diplomat and ambassador, which spanned four decades and 29 moves. She carved out a distinct role, complementing his position. For example, Martha was particularly happy having introduced the future Princess Takamado to her husband, Prince Takamado at a reception she and Barry hosted at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. Her command of English and Spanish was exceptional; but she also learned to speak Malay, Greek, Hebrew, French, Portuguese and Japanese. Martha was engaged in supporting an array of humanitarian causes ranging from orphanages to homes for the elderly. As a leader in the diplomatic community, she organized and hosted hundreds of functions in support of Canada's interests abroad. Martha pursued a lifelong, passionate study of food and collected well over a thousand cookbooks. She was an accomplished cook who left a legacy her whole family carries on. Martha and Barry bought a cottage in Quebec in 1978. The cottage, in aptly named Point Comfort, adjacent to the Gatineau Fish and Game Club, became the central gathering place for family and friends. We have lost this wonderful couple. Their enduring love was the foundation of our family and for that we will be forever grateful. The family would like to especially thank Yvette Cruickshank and Betty Backman of Medical Priorities, who lovingly and ceaselessly cared for Martha these past years. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Brescia University College Chapel, Ursuline Hall, on Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 11 a.m. with interment of the Urn at St. Peter's Cemetery to follow. A luncheon reception will follow interment at Brescia University College, the Mercato at 2 p.m. The family plans a memorial this summer in Point Comfort, Quebec. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Martha Molina Scholarship Fund at Brescia University College would be appreciated. Donations can be sent to 1285 Western Road, London, Ont., N6G 1H2 or please call 519.432.8353 ext. 28077. (John T. Donohue Funeral Home)
Published in Ottawa Citizen on May 11, 2016.