Martha Grant was born in Rolla, Missouri on August 23, 1938, to Lucille and Joseph ‘Stuart’ Johnson. She died after a short illness in Venice, Florida, on November 16, 2023. A huge presence of family was by her bedside. Martha spent her younger days in Rolla and Gainesville, Florida, as Russell’s younger sister while her father taught electrical engineering and was Assistant Dean at the University of Florida. Her sister Sylvia joined the family in Gainesville in 1947. Moving and living in college towns became common over the next 20 years. Martha moved to West Lafayette, Indiana to finish high school, where she was swept off her feet by a college sophomore, Thomas Grant III.
They married at the age of 18 when she and Tom attended Purdue. After he was immediately drafted into the U.S. Army after college, Martha made the solo journey across the Atlantic to join him at Camp Darby in Italy. While in Italy, she had Mark Thomas Grant in 1960. They and their dog Tammy toured Italy and Europe in their Volkswagen Beetle in their off time. They accumulated much of their teak home furnishings and other precious mementos. Today, virtually all of the mid-century modern teak remains perfectly cared for and used by her children. In her other spare time Martha taught Italian to the American soldiers at Camp Darby, foreshadowing her lifelong career teaching English to middle and high schoolers.
After the Army the young family moved to Detroit where it grew; Kim and Kelly were born in 1961 and 1963, respectively. She completed her studies with a teaching degree at Wayne State University. In 1966, the family moved to Foxboro, Massachusetts, where she taught at Foxboro Ahearn Middle School and Foxboro High School. The family lived there until 1988 after all the kids had grown and left. She and Tom moved to Mansfield, Massachusetts, and after his death in 1992, she continued to teach at Foxboro High School until her retirement in 1995. She moved to Venice, Florida, in 2001, had a short stint in Southport, North Carolina, and moved back to Venice in 2021. She was an active member of the Venice Grace Methodist Church during her time in Venice. Her hobbies included spending time with her beloved sister-in-law Pat Johnson, attending auctions, reading, and actively hosting weekly bridge parties. She was a highly skilled bridge player and taught others.
Martha leaves Mark Thomas Grant and his wife Monique (Mansfield, MA), Kim Grant and her wife Catherine Direen (Albuquerque, NM), Kelly Grant McDonald and her husband John McDonald (Southport, NC). She also leaves five loving grandchildren: Benjamin Grant and his wife Abby, Thomas Grant, Morgan Grant and her fiancé Nick Smokler, Emily McDonald Contardi and her husband Nick Contardi, and Lindsay McDonald. She also leaves a great-grandson of Abby and Ben, Parker Grant, and future great-grandson of Emily and Nick Contardi, Owen Contardi. She also leaves behind her loving siblings and their spouses, Russell and Pat Johnson of Venice, Florida; Sylvia and Lee Andersen of Sarasota, Florida; and five nieces and nephews and their loving spouses, with whom she remained very close during their frequent visits to Florida. We are not sure how she would wish to be remembered because her illness was short and unexpected. But we all remember her as a great mother, wife, and grandmother; a caring and nurturing teacher; a lifelong friend to her brother and sister; and a highly skilled bridge player and conversationalist.
In lieu of flowers please send any donations in Martha Grant’s name to St Francis Animal Rescue of Venice. www.sfarvenice.org