Jeanette Helen Price Martin

Martin Enlarge photo


Former Durango resident Jeanette Helen Price Martin died Monday, June 25, 2012, in Portland, Ore. She was 100.

Mrs. Martin was born Sept. 1, 1911, in Denver. She grew up in Flagler, a whistle stop on the Rock Island Line on the eastern plains of Colorado.

Her father died when she was 11, but Mrs. Martin stayed in school, graduating as valedictorian of her class and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She taught high school English in Berthoud while earning a master’s degree from CU during summers. In 1938, she became one of the first teachers at the new junior college in Pueblo.

While teaching in Berthoud, she met her future husband, George Gregoire Martin, an elementary school teacher in the same district. They dated during those years but couldn’t marry because they both were supporting their mothers and younger siblings, and “Depression rules” allowed only one teaching position in a family.

In 1940, the couple married in Los Angeles. During World War II, the young family followed Mr. Martin to various Army posts, eventually settling in Colorado Springs after his discharge in 1945.

In 1950, the Martins moved to Durango, where Mrs. Martin taught English at Fort Lewis College for 10 years.

In 1967, the Martins moved to Salt Lake City, where Mrs. Martin earned a doctorate in linguistics from the University of Utah in 1974. At that time, she was the oldest doctoral candidate in UU’s history.

After retirement, the Martins returned to Durango. They scheduled a world trip each year for many years. Mrs. Martin was active in the community as a member of First Presbyterian Church of Durango and as a longtime volunteer for the Durango Public Library and the La Plata County Humane Society. Even at the age of 89, she enjoyed driving “the old ladies” to church events, her family said.

In 2006, the Martins moved to Portland to live near their second son. Mrs. Martin enjoyed the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Shakespeare in the Parks, Portland’s wonderful Happy Hours and was an active participant in many activities at Laurelhurst Terrace in southeast Portland where she lived.

Mrs. Martin was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, George Martin.

She is survived by her sons Gerald Martin, Kenneth Martin and Mahan Martin; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14, 2012, at Laurelhurst Terrace Chapel, 3060 SE Stark St., in Portland.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the La Plata County Humane Society; Friends of the Durango Public Library; any public library; or the Portland Baroque Orchestra.

A full obituary is available at