Martha D Painter

January 6, 1925January 17, 2021

Martha Dean Painter, 96, passed away peacefully in her home on January 17, 2021, after living a very loved and full life. She lived the majority of her life in Erie, PA, with her beloved husband, Robert F. Painter. They enjoyed 63 years of marriage until Bob’s passing in 2013. She was a devoted wife to Bob and mother to her children and poured herself into their lives. Martha was predeceased by her parents, Howard and Miriam Dean, her sisters Margaret (Peggy) Bules and Eleanor Haney, and her son, John Painter. She is survived by her sister Flora Dean of Winter Park, FL, her son James (Kathleen) Painter of Pittsburgh, PA, her daughter Mary (Christopher) Opitz of Virginia Beach, VA, and 4 grandchildren: Carolyn (Mark) Matthews, David Painter, Tara Opitz, and Stephen Opitz. Martha was an honors graduate of Strong Vincent High School and a trumpeter in the girls brass choir, as well as Erie Business College. She held administrative positions at Penelec, Church of the Covenant and United-Atkinson. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant for 83 years where she was an elder and long-time choir and bell choir member, Lake Shore Garden Club and Hamot Aide Society. She and Bob were also long-time members of Erie Yacht Club, Erie Club, Cape Coral Sailing Club, and First Presbyterian Church in Cape Coral, FL. Martha loved singing, performing in and directing Gilbert and Sullivan operas, playing in the church handbell choir, sailing, world travel, cheering on the Penn State Nittany Lions football team, playing (and winning) card games, reading every Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy novel, and spending time with her family and pets. She was an avid sailor and celestial navigator who was very proud of passing the United States Power Squadron Navigation Exam, becoming the only woman to achieve that in 1971. She was also proud to be an honorary submariner and crewmember of the USS Andrew Jackson and USS George Washington, having completed day cruises on both vessels. The family would like to thank the wonderful, compassionate caregivers of Home Instead Senior Care and Interim Health Hospice for keeping Martha comfortable and able to spend her last years in her own home, with loving care and dignity. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the family plans to have a memorial service at a later date when friends and family can gather to celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Erie, PA. Condolences may be offered to the family at Cremation Society of Pennsylvania (


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