Martha Jean Usatine, 71, a resident of The Dalles, Ore., since 2002, died at home Dec. 11, 2015. Martha was born Aug. 4, 1944, in St. Paul, Minn., the fourth of four children to Wilbur and Rose Milton. She was raised and educated in New Brighton, Minn., and graduated from Mounds View High School in 1962.
Martha attended St. Cloud State College, graduating in 1967. After college, she guided canoe trips for youth in the Boundary Waters between Canada and Minnesota. She then entered the AmeriCorps Vista program and was stationed in La Junta, Colo., where she helped local underserved Hispanic residents gain access to running water and other basic services. In part through her efforts, the governor paid for the new infrastructure.
Martha married a local man from La Junta and moved to Lawrence, Kansas. They then moved to Columbia, S.C., where she entered the graduate program for social work at the University of South Carolina. She and her then-husband divorced during her studies. After earning her master’s degree in 1975, she worked at the Department of Social Services in Columbia.
Martha met Joseph Usatine at the UU Fellowship of Columbia, and on Nov. 24, 1979, they were married. In 1980 she gave birth to their son Alexander. She opened a private practice for family and marriage counseling in 1986 and also worked at the Department of Mental Health throughout her time in South Carolina.
After Alex left for college, Martha and Joe moved to The Dalles, Ore., to be closer to Martha’s family. She worked at Comprehensive Mental Health in Goldendale, Wash., for many years.
Martha served on the board and the nominating committee at both of her UU churches, and was active in many other programs. She was also active with the SMART program in The Dalles, teaching children to read.
An avid hiker and camper, Martha brought her love of the outdoors to tending her backyard garden. As a member of The Dalles Country Club, she enjoyed playing golf as often as possible.
Martha was preceded in death by her husband Joseph and a brother, Bill Milton.
She is survived by her son, Alex Usatine, of Santa Fe, N.M.; Richard Usatine and his wife, Janna, of San Antonio, Texas; daughter Karen Usatine and her husband, Roger, of Santa Clara, Calif.; sister Beth Richman and her husband, Lorne, of The Dalles, Ore.; brother Jim Milton and his wife, Carol, of Harris, Minn.; and sister-in-law Georgia Stafford, of South Haven, Miss.
Services were held Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Rockford Grange in Hood River, Ore.
Memorial contributions may be made to SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) of Northeast Oregon, Providence Hospice of the Gorge or Meals on Wheels of The Dalles.
Arrangements are under the direction of Spencer, Libby and Powell Funeral Home, 1100 Kelly Ave., The Dalles, OR 97058; 541-296-3234.
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