Elizabeth R. Marty


Elizabeth Marty


Elizabeth Weyburn Rolph (Marty) was born on September 19, 1911 in Hanford, WA and was predeceased by her husband, Dave Marty, her parents, Curtis and Elsie Rolph, and her sister Margaret McBride.

Her friends and relatives called her Betty, T.M.(tough mother) everyone else addressed her as Mrs. Marty.  She enjoyed an honestly amazing life because of her passionate curiosity, her love of nature, of people, of music and literature and everything positive, including life itself. Honored by being teacher of the year, Elizabeth was probably one of the greatest elementary school teachers because of these blessings and her ability to get you to do and see things, even when you didn’t want to at first. She was an inspirational treasure that will be greatly missed.

Her growing up years were those of a true pioneer on the family Peach Orchard on the banks of the Columbia River in Hanford, WA with her little sister and great friend, Margaret. Her father, the son of a wealthy, east coast inventor, built the home she was born in from driftwood he rafted in from the Columbia River. Her mother, an educated (school teacher), elegant, determined lady transplanted from upstate New York, said it was an inextinguishable task to keep the never ending sand from creating small dunes as it blew in, at will, from under the door.  The next ranch home came in a package from Sears and Roebuck.

After 7 years and a particularly nasty drought the family moved to Seattle during the depression. Her father happily put on a suit and tie and later finished his career in the business office of Carnation Farms, which was located in what is now University Village.  Betty attended Ravenna Elementary, Roosevelt High School and studied piano.  She finished her college education by graduating from Seattle Pacific University.  As a shy, reticent teenager it took great courage to begin teaching school in Renton, WA at the age of 19.

Betty was one of those gals who loved to cross country ski (was one of the first women Mountaineers), sail her own flat bottom sailboat on lake union (her father, who taught her, was an ice boat racer from Wisconsin), swim (in Puget Sound until in her late 80’s), beach comb, hike, smell nature, check out all wildlife…and their homes.. experience wind, rain and fast water of any kind, poke at all plant life, on land and sea,  and spend countless hours in the sun reading.  Preferably seated in an inner tube on the beach. Then there was the infinite diversity of pets at quantity…..

She never drove a car.  Her long term boyfriend, Berwin, an avid outdoorsman and hunter was killed in the line of duty during WWII. He was the driver for General George Patton. They had an English Springer Spaniel, who was named Gunga Din after a Rudyard Kipling character in one of his famous poems. That was the first in a line of infamous pets of the same  persuasion… all named “Dinny”.

A believer all her life, Betty enjoyed attending the University Presbyterian Church. She based and lived by Christian principles.

She met her husband Dave one summer vacation, while on one of her many adventures, at a rooming house in Bend, Oregon. They met in the kitchen, definitely not one of her favorite places, while attempting to cook eggs.  They immediately found that they shared the love of the sense of humor of author James Thurber. Both of them were reading “The Thurber Carnival” while performing their culinary arts (!)  laughing out loud at the same time.  It was perfect.

Dave, an intellectual, well read, Southern California surfer was fighting forest fires in the remote Bend country.  Tall and slender with a crushingly handsome face, dark wavy hair with a famous blonde streak and a magnetic personality, he was the one. He too loved literature, the big screen, music (Frank Sinatra and the big bands), he was a self taught eloquent philosopher and student of history, sports fan, loved unusual strong coffee and chocolate, and would willingly spend spare time reading and exploring… things Betty held exceptionally dear.  They got married after a very short courtship, in San Francisco.  It was still summer.  They stayed in Bend for awhile then moved to Tacoma where Dave went to work for United Airlines and they adopted 2 children within 18 months of each other.  More wonderfulness for Betty as she passionately adores children. They stayed in Tacoma for about 4 years then moved to Seattle to be nearer her aging parents and Dave’s new job at United Pacific Railroad.

I’m her daughter, so I can honestly tell you that my childhood was a treasure trove of adventure, books, magazines, weather… the more adverse the better and hopefully included lightening, the entire outdoors, anything that grew or had been growing, water of all kinds, seaweed, shells, sand, rocks, sticks, interesting shapes in nature… color, art…words and weird places to swim including ice ponds on Mt. Rainier. Then there was the shopping!

A great favorite it can be summed up in the words “Frederick and Nelson”. That in itself was truly an indoor adventure. Three then four (when I had my children) generations of the women, dressed to the nines in suits, hats and gloves, would be driven, or go by bus, to that wonderful place every Saturday morning where we would spend all day exploring displays, fine china, everyday china, kitchen gadgets, crystal, Steuben Glass, designer couture, silver, shoes… suits, rugs, furniture, bargains.. A snack in the Paul Bunyan Room, lunch in the Tea Room.  We must have walked a minimum of 5 miles each Saturday… in very high heels, which Betty wore all the time much as we wear athletic shoes today.

After a brief break to get her children on their feet she returned to her much loved teaching at Maple Leaf Elementary in Seattle staying there until she retired at age 65. She then began helping raise the grandchildren and returned to studies at the University of Washington, sometimes sporting her granddaughter Leigh, in a backpack on her back. They went on the bus.

To call her an incredible teacher is not enough, she was one rare and unique educator that truly brought everything possible to her students. She taught 4th and 5th grades and if you were lucky enough to get Mrs. Marty you would find yourself in a room with many pets, from Iguanas, Doves, Snakes, Rabbits… you name it.. to stacks of books and artifacts to overstuffed chairs and a piano, which she played and taught you to sing at.  She had the first reading room and was asked to teach one of the first integrated classrooms in Seattle. Her students learned to successfully write term papers, spell, act, sing, enjoy if not love to read, care for things,  behold science and nature, be dynamically curious, focus and become the best they as individuals could be.

She was thoughtfully involved with each student individually and was determined that their unique talents would be brought out and demanded nothing less than that from them teaching them that they were valuable, intelligent and important.  Furthermore  it was expected that they would be good citizens and concentrate on the tasks at hand.  She remembered everyone’s name.  She played baseball with the boys at lunch, and there were kickball games, nature excursions and field trips to museums.  She was Music Director, putting on magical musical performances such as Hansel and Gretel, which included every child in the school.  She played the piano and directed while each class participated theatrically, danced and sang to an audience of enthusiastic relatives,  parents, friends and community members. She was very popular and was always smiling and laughing and asking you endless questions about yourself.

Her husband, Dave, passed at age 54 and to ours and her benefit, she decided to focus her attention on the world she was already in.

She survived most of her loving friends and discovered many lasting friendships with her children’s and grandchildren’s friends as she was very active in their lives.  She attended the grandchildren’s many sporting events and performances even as they continued to play through college and she willingly traveled at distance to watch. She took the bus several times a week to Cornish to make sure her granddaughter Gina could continue her ballet lessons. She rode 3 busses to take care of her grandson Andy who managed to spend most of his time sleeping. Those two had hilarious adventures as he grew

After helping raise the 4 grandchildren and being alone for a bit she was invited to move in with her grandson Leif’s young family to help raise his 2 children. She had a cane and a walker when she arrived at their North Bend home however one day Leif noticed that she no longer had either one and was chasing baby Koll and big sister Dakota up the stairs giggling all the way. Leif had to put a bell on her walking stick to make sure the bears knew she and the kids were out on their daily nature walk. The pile of children’s books she had to read to them was mountainous.

She set the bar for how to enjoy life, make it rich, worthwhile and big, bringing you along and leaving you immeasurably better for joining the adventure. There is so much wonderful fruit on her sprawling tree of life. If we duplicate any part of the positive legacy she left us we will continue to plant those seeds she lovingly forced into our inquisitive minds and hands.  You indeed are part of this for she touched everyone she met, leaving us feeling important and planting that seed of curiosity and better benefit for us to somehow grow our own way.

She is survived by her children; Dian Langlois-Aversano and Stephen (Karen) Marty, her grandchildren; Leif Langlois, Gina (Rob) Cittadini, Leigh Langlois, Andy Aversano and Catherine Marty and her great grandchildren Dakota and Koll Langlois. She had 3 nieces, Betsy (Jack) Sonntag, Barbara (Jack) Williamson and Molly (Jim) Taylor. Her family all lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Timeline of Her Life:

September 19,1911- Elizabeth R. Marty was born in Hanford, WA

1919- Marty Family moves to Seattle in Phinney Ridge.

1920- Family moves to Ravenna district Went to Ravenna Elementary School.

1925-Went to Roosevelt High School

1929- Went to Seattle Pacific University

1932- Got her first Teaching job in Renton at Henry Ford and Earlington Heights teaching First through sixth grades.  She taught music and gave Christmas programs.

1941- Got an A.E Degree from Chico State

1942- Traveled to Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey to visit her sister’s family.

1943- Became the supervisor of music for an elementary school in California

1945- Meets Dave Marty in community kitchen reading James Thurber.

1945- Marries Dave Marty

1946- Moves to Seattle

1946- Adopted Dian Elizabeth

1948- Adopted Steven Curtis

1954- Purchased the house on 6300 23rd in Ravenna  for $3,500

1954- Started teaching 4th grade at Maple Leaf where she directed all the music festivals and chorus.

1965- Mother Passes

1969- Daughter Dian Marries Larry Langlois

1969- First grandchild Leif Curtis isborn

1970- Father passes

1971- Granddaughter Gina Elizabeth is born

1973- Dave Marty Passes

1977- Citation of Merit Given to Elizabeth by the board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools.

1977- Granddaughter Leigh Weyburn

1977- Retired from teaching to help bring up her grandchildren, Leif, Gina, Leigh and Andy.

1980- Son Steve marries Karen Fullthorp

1984- Grandson Andrew Paul is born

1994- Granddaughter Catherine Ester is born

September 19, 1999- Friend Mayor Mystrom creates Betty Marty day in Ankorage, AK in honor of her selfless dedication to her granddaughter Leigh.

2001- Great Granddaughter Dakota Leigh is born

2004- Moves in with Grandson to help raise great grandchildren

2004- Great Grandson Koll is born

2007- Moves to Bainbridge Island to be with her daughter Dian

2010- Moves into the Gardens in Bellevue, Wa

November 13th,  2012- Elizabeth R. Marty passes peacefully

Elizabeth’s service will be held at the University Presbyterian Church in Seattle WA on Friday November 30th 2012 @ 1pm.

All are welcome to come and celebrate her wonderful life.


8 Responses to “Elizabeth R. Marty”

  • MARY MCGARRY says:

    Hello, Dan and I remember Betty with great fondness from when we were neighbors in Ravenna Park. God bless her. We are very sorry for your loss.

    Mary McGarry

  • Carole Johansen Barns says:

    Mrs. Marty was my fourth grade teacher and — without question — the best teacher I ever had. Over the many years (I’m 68 years old) since I was in her classroom, through public school, university, and graduate school, I have related to others the amazingly positive impact she had on me and on my desire to learn. Just two weeks ago I told a friend about her influence on my passion for literature. From reading in comfy overstuffed chairs, to the plays we put on, to the birds and other critters we had in class, she brought excitement and joy to learning and opened so many vistas. On her last day of teaching at Maple Leaf Elementary — I think nearly 40 years ago — I visited her and, thankfully, had the opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me. That affection and respect for her love of education and skill in reaching children has never diminished with me. I’m so happy she lived such a long, and I know, wonderful life. She was — and in my heart will always be — a treasure beyond measure. My thoughts and prayers to her family. How lucky you were to have her in your life. I was so privileged to have had her in mine. To me she will always be the gold standard in education.

  • Aundie & Bill Collison says:

    We knew Betty Marty as a teacher at Maple Leaf Elementary School. As a teacher, she was the very best! She was patient, she was thoughtful, she looked deep into the lives of each of her students, never did she pass judgment …and above all she was full of enthusiasm. Our daughter had her as a teacher and she thrived because of Betty Marty.
    I had the opportunity to work with Betty Marty through PTSA. I found her ready to participate in almost all of the events that were planned. All of the active members of PTSA knew they could count on support and enthusiasm from her. It was a sad day for Maple Leaf when Betty Marty retired. As we have looked back on all three of our kids’ good experiences with teachers in elementary school, Betty Marty stood out to be at the top of the list.
    You had a gold mine in Betty both as a parent and a grandparent. Little doubt, but that her influence will be passed on from generation to generation. You will miss her; but you will also know that a special part of her… lives within each of your lives.

    Aundie and Bill Collison

  • Jim Shelton says:

    Betty Marty was the finest teacher I ever knew. Her positive attitude, generous nature and instructional skill were the backbone of a successful program. I am sure every child that had the great good fortune to be in her classroom remembers “Mrs. Marty” with fondness and appreciation.

    Jim Shelton

  • Brian Pelton says:

    Mrs. Marty was one of the most influential teachers I ever had. The time was 1960-61, 4th Grade at Maple Leaf School, Room 15. Everything about her was strong, from her voice to the way she commanded the class. She had striking iron gray hair and it was always styled nicely, not in tight curls but in a wind-swept, independent way.

    The classes were large. Some, like ours, had at least 35 students, but Mrs. Marty managed to get us from September to the following June with a high degree of readiness for the 5th grade.

    She could scold us too. Once she stopped a girl in the middle of a sentence and said, “Speak up. I hear you girls outside at lunch and your voices carry from one end of the playground to the other. So I know you can do better than squeak in the classroom.”

    Years later, I was coming home from work on the 25 Lakeview (I was about 30 years old) and there was Mrs. Marty seated not far from me. So I went over to her and said, “You probably don’t remember me but …” and she stopped me and said in a stern voice, “I remember you Brian Pelton.” That really touched my heart. I thanked her for all the good she did for me, for all of us. And she answered saying, “We had a lot of dedicated teachers then.”

    I will always love Mrs. Marty and hold her in my heart as one of the best people in my life.

  • Bill Cady says:

    Mrs. Marty will always be in my memories of a loving and caring teacher and friend. I was her student teacher in 1964 and I will remember her telling me, “Oh Mr. Cady, this will be a wonderful learning experience for you.” Because of her I have had many wonderful learning experiences but I do believe one of the best ones was learning under her teaching. She loved all her students. I will miss her.

  • John Hassel says:

    Poor dear. Mrs. Marty was my first teacher in the Seattle Public Schools. I was in her 5th grade class at Maple Leaf Elementary in around 1965 or 1966. My clearest memory of Mrs. Marty is of her at the piano. I remember one occasion when the whole class was all formed up to sing “I’ve Got Six Pence”. She’s up in front leading the choir, and everything was going smoothly until we got to the fourth or fifth verse where the lyrics are “I’ve got no pence”, and my goofball classmate Dean sings “I’ve got no pants”. I laughed at his little pun, I get caught, and I get invited (ordered?) to stay after school to provide a solo performance of “I’ve Got Six Pence” for Mrs. Marty and another female teacher. She was pretty strict. She didn’t fool around. That’s probably why we liked her so much. It’s sad to hear she’s gone.

  • Randina (Ruddy) Gangnes says:

    Mrs. Marty was far and away my favorite and the very best teacher I ever had! In large part, the two years I was lucky enough to spend in her classroom influenced my own decision to become an elementary school teacher, and most certainly had an impact on my own teaching style, as well. She was my fourth grade teacher at Maple Leaf School, and I clearly remember the day she came back after an absence and told us that the principal had asked her to teach 5th grade the next year. She said she told him she would, but only if she could have her same class back again the next year! Apparently he said yes, because all of us were back together for fifth grade, and we were thrilled! I remember group projects (who else did that in the early 60’s?), snakes and turtles escaping in the classroom, memorizing the Gettysburg address and the Preamble to the Constitution, kickball games, book reports, counting on bank days, writing an autobiography, and even a wonderful weekend day trip to her cabin at Indianola! We felt so privileged to share a little bit of her private life with her! I, too, visited with her before she retired, along with my friend Tammy. I loved her, I learned SO much from her, and she will always hold a VERY special place in my heart! She was truly a blessing and a gift!

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