Aunt Marta


My Aunt Marta died a few weeks ago, today there’s a memorial service for her in Foster City. I guess my family correctly figured Valentines Day would be perfect to honor her…she certainly was everybody’s Valentine. Marta was 92, and in every other instance that I can remember, when somebody passes at an age like that I would think “How wonderful that she lived such a long life”. In Marta’s case I’m going to miss her enormously. She was, quite simply, an amazing woman. She and my Uncle Harry bought their house on Flying Fish Street over 40 years ago and always seemed to be this town’s biggest fans. The picture up there is from her back yard. Growing up in Colorado all we ever seemed to hear were stories of this little paradise of a town they lived in and what it meant to them.

Marta was quite a character. She was the type of woman who didn’t have the time or inclination to mince words. You knew where you stood with her…and where she stood on just about every significant issue that came down the pike in our world. When I was 2 I was supposed to be taking a nap in her guest room when I discovered her pillow was filled with feathers. Somehow I managed to wrestle all of the feathers out and it looked like it was snowing in the room when she came in and busted me. She always seemed to tell that story every time I was around after that…including last year! Like I was 32 when it happened! I, of course, have no recollection of it at all…just the recollection of her telling the story!

When I was 21 and in college I spent the summer in Europe and for a few days I spent some time in her ancestral home town of Ljubljana, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia). Marta told me to make sure and look up her relatives, the Lubich’s, when I was there. Well, when I got there I did just that…and discovered that there were 3 or 4 pages of Lubich’s in the Ljubljana phone directory! I told her I could have yelled out the name Lubich in the town square and have had several people come up to me as a result! How was I supposed to know which ones were her relatives? She said they all were! “Why didn’t you yell like that?!”

She was the best cook I’ve ever known! Her Thanksgiving dinners were amazing! Her mashed potatoes were somehow different (I never could figure out how or why). Everything she cooked was like eating it for the first time. If you ever managed to get a plate of her cookies at the Holiday’s you truly were rewarded! Nobody made cookies like Marta.

Here’s one big lesson from Marta that I hope not to forget. For almost all of her 92 years she was as sharp as a tack mentally. She was a voracious reader and almost every afternoon she played a dice game where she added a score with a pencil and paper. She consciously did things to stay sharp. In fact, I always felt like she was sharper than I was! She represented a value system that seems to me to be disappearing. She was an incredibly smart and savy stay at home Mom and family was her job. She was an astonishing success. When you left her presence you always felt like you mattered. Maybe the saddest thing about losing Marta to me is the fact that for as long as I remember she was the hub of the family wheel. All family activity seemed to be centered around her house. It just won’t be the same going forward. I won’t be surprised if I lose touch with some relatives. Lesley, my wife, say’s it’s like a big library that’s burned down losing Marta.

God speed Marta, I love you.


  1. This is a very inspirational write up, Jim!

  2. Our condolences, Jim. We know how much Aunt Marta meant to your family. We hope today’s service honors her well.

  3. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute about my Grandma. We all loved her so much and realize what a tremendous loss she is to so many. Thanks Jimmy!!

  4. my sympathy on your loss. in honor of aunt marta you’ll now have to carry on in her memory as one of foster city’s biggest fans.

  5. Nancy Wierenga says:

    Dear Jim,
    I am so very sorry for you loss. I went to Poland after having cancer in search of roots and what an eye opener. My Mother is the hub over here and when she passes my connection will be lost. I totally get it. And, again she will be in my prayers and I know she is looking over you and your family and smiling.

  6. My sympathy to you Jim, and Lesley (my daughter) and all the family. I have known Marta and most of her family for quite some time. Jim, your words are comforting and inspiring and I say yes to Marta, your spirit be with us!

  7. Many thanks to all of you! Great stuff!

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