Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
MARTHA KLASINA MARINE

Martha’s parents, natives of Sweden, were married in the United States. Her mother went back for a visit after 10 years with her daughter Florence and discovered that she was expecting. So Martha was born in Teedahome, Sweden, on December 15, 1907. Her mother stayed in Teedahome until Martha was almost three, then rejoined her father in America. He had been traveling around the West and ended up in Flagstaff working for the Arizona Lumber and Timber Company. She remembers her mother’s comment as she stepped off the train in Flagstaff, “I will never stay here.” But she stayed there until she died at the age of 93!

Martha Marine has lived in her house at 112 South Pleasant Street for 73 years. One day, after she had been living in Prescott for several years, she and her husband happened to look up as they were walking down Gurley Street from the Christian Science Church, and they saw a little house with a lot of weeds in the yard and a “for rent” sign in front. The rent was $20 a month, more than the $16 they were paying at that time. But the landlady said that since they were just a couple she could lower it to $18.

After renting for six years, the property owner decided to sell the house. She sent a prospective buyer to look at it, and Martha pointed out everything that was wrong with the house, then called her landlady and said firmly, “We’re buying the house.” So the Marines purchased it for $2,200, and as they say, the rest is history.

Martha attended grammar school in Old Main on the Normal School campus in Flagstaff. When she was in the ninth grade, she was presented with a baby brother, the greatest answer to a prayer that she ever had. It was a tragic day for Martha and her family when they received the news that her beloved brother had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.

Martha did not return to school after her freshman year. Since she had always wanted to be a nurse, she tried to fit in wherever she could, caring for people.

When she was 20 years old, Martha married George Marine in Holbrook, Arizona. Her father-in-law, Howard Marine, was a Flagstaff pioneer who served in the Territorial Legislature. The young couple stayed in Flagstaff for a short time, moved to Phoenix for six years, and then returned to Flagstaff. Martha was often called to the hospital because the nurses knew that she liked to care for people. That period in their lives was at the beginning of the Great Depression.

Then Martha was offered a job in Prescott working for Vance Stratton. He had a big produce warehouse near the depot and needed a girl in his office. Times were hard, and since he offered George a job too, the Marines were off to Prescott. The warehouse closed after a year, and Martha went back to her calling. She worked for Dr. Southworth at the Arizona Pioneers' Home, in the Jefferson School hospital, and for Dr. McNally. She liked to take private cases from the doctors.

Although she is unable to attend meetings anymore, Martha has been a long-time member of Smoki, the Westerners, the Congregational Church and its Women’s Fellowship, and the Rebecca Lodge in Prescott for 61 years.

Martha has a wonderful outlook on life. She cherishes a baby doll she received for Christmas when she was 11. She had seen it in Babbitt’s store window.

She has many things in her home that are priceless to her, and each one has a history. Each gift is something that makes her remember the giver and why she received it. She says, “I know that there will be a day when I must part with all this. But I’m very, very grateful, as long as I’m alive, to keep it. So many people have so much, and yet they don’t really come right down to appreciating it by the day. Each day is a priceless thing.”

Martha was not blessed with her own children, but says, “I have done everything possible to brighten somebody else’s life.”

Donor: Mona Lange McCroskey
January 2006


Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.