Martha GUSTAVSON Obituary – (2021) – Spokane, WA

GUSTAVSON, Martha Anne (74 years old) Martha Anne Gustavson was born in Boise, Idaho and grew up in the Tri-Cities. She was the second of six siblings: Fred, Martha, Julie, Don (Jullian), Bob and Mary. Her mother, Mary Gustavson, was a third grade teacher, and her father, Don Gustavson, survived World War II (Navy) and worked as a nuclear engineer at Hanford. Martha had a lovely childhood. She loved swimming, roller skating, skiing and riding horses. In elementary school, Martha was often seen riding a bicycle with her domestic pigeon on her shoulder. She cherished the commute to school every day with her childhood friend, Janet, they also earned their Boy Scout badges together. Martha loved animals, while her neighbors were growing up, she often brought wounded birds to Martha to nurse them back to health. As a teenager she worked at Dr. Moore hoping to become a vet one day. Her starting salary was 77 cents an hour! Her love for swimming and diving led her to work as a lifeguard for three summers after receiving her WSI certification from WSU. Martha was fascinated by other cultures and wanted to travel as an exchange student. As a young adult, this desire led her to travel for over six years through Asia and the Orient, where she lived, worked, built lifelong friendships and broadened her view of the world. Martha had a child; Their daughter was born at home in Spokane in 1975 during a snow storm. The blizzard provided nine inches of snow while Martha gave birth to a happy and healthy girl named “Spirit of the Snow” Davis, named in honor of Native Americans, their history, and the storm. Although Spirit later changed her name to Jodie, she still appreciates her maiden name and meaning, and she appreciates the holdover that they continue to call Spirit. Martha dedicated herself to the task of serving as a positive role model for her daughter. She was a shining example of hard work, dedication, creative and open-minded thinking, positive problem solving, courage, honesty, trust and generosity. She taught Jodie the value of real and meaningful social interaction, responsibility, care, and love. Jodie looked up at her mother with astonishment and respect. She provided Jodie with the richest childhood, her life full of amazing, unique, and meaningful experiences for which Jodie is infinitely grateful. Martha was an artist from a very early age and loved to paint and draw. This later led to a career in graphic design. During the recession, she started her own design business. Martha was incredibly talented, entrepreneurial, and had such a creative mind. She enjoyed learning and refining new techniques to meet customer needs. She mastered every kind of artistic endeavor imaginable from screen printing, logos and signage, carpentry, portraits, ceramics, sandblasting, printing, lead glass, illustrations for the Spokesman Review, even totem pole carving, and much more! The feather in her cap was the design of the City of Spokane logo, which can be found across town in its many forms, from manhole covers to utility bills to garbage trucks. She often joked that she created the largest moving art installation in Spokane. Martha always had goals and aspirations, and she was never afraid to try new things, even if they were challenging or non-traditional. Although tradition, social rules, or systems have repeatedly said “Nosingle women and single mothers are not allowed to do this or that,” she had a way of finding out. She realized her visions through immense hard work, intent, and navigating the construct of systems that were not set up for her to be successful. She has always been a free thinker and problem solver. When she wanted to become a property owner, she not only accepted being told she couldn’t get a loan because she was a self-employed single woman. Again and again she used her creativity and ingenuity to achieve her goals. Becoming a property owner was an accomplishment she was extremely proud of. She continued to improve, investing her work, hard earned income, and heart and soul back in her property throughout her life. Martha’s only child Jodie and her ex-husband Dan Pierson have three children, Gavin, Dylan and Lilly. Martha loved being her Gramma and spending time with them. She is so proud of the successful young adults that they have become. Martha was so excited and proud of Jodie’s goal to become an RN that she was so happy to celebrate it with Jodie’s partner Alice Young. For many years, Martha volunteered at local theaters where she and Jodie served as ushers, and later she accepted her grandchildren into the tradition as well. When Jodie was in high school, Martha decided that she and her daughter should become ski instructors for the mountain. Spokane, where they both worked for many years sharing their skills, knowledge and love of skiing with hundreds and hundreds of students of all ages. Gavin and Dylan later joined the team of instructors. How much fun Martha was having skiing and teaching all three generations. Her work as a ski instructor at Mt. Spokane and her volunteering work for Interplayer, The Civic Theater and The FOX were particularly significant because they led to many valued and long-term friendships. Later in her life, Martha relied on her caring nature and became a licensed CNA providing skilled professional care and support to her senior clients for many years. As a CNA, she was able to take jobs in and around the Tri-Cities to be close to her parents in old age. After Martha’s parents passed away, aged 96 and 97, she retired and spent most of her time skiing, kayaking, water aerobics with her friends and further improving her property by doing gardening work, Hundreds of trees rooted and planted and built fences. Martha had plans to travel again to reunite with her friends from abroad. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She kept telling how much she enjoyed her life as a person on this beautiful blue planet. Whether you had known Martha from childhood, her travels, the art world, Mt. Spokane, Interplayer / Civic / Fox, LiveStrong or any other association, she was sure it had influenced your life. She wants to give all of her friends and family a big hug and remind them to appreciate the many simple joys in life. A memorial service for Martha’s life will be held in Spokane, TBD this summer. Please donate to Martha’s favorite charities: KSPS Public Television, EWU Jazz Radio, The Civic Theater, The Fox, and Southern Poverty Law Center. Condolences can be sent to Jodie Davis at 2633 W. Sanson Ave., Spokane, WA. 99205 or [email protected]

Posted in Spokesman Review on March 7, 2021.