Martha M. Strachota, 96, died on Nov. 5, 2011 at home in Bend, Ore.
Martha was born in Tama County, Sept. 20, 1915, the daughter of John and Agnes (Staricky) Benda and grew up on her parents' homestead five miles northeast of Toledo. She attended elementary school at Otter Creek #5 and graduated from Toledo High School in 1933.
Martha taught in the rural school in Tama County for three years.
Martha M. Strachota
In 1936, after her marriage to Richard C. Strachota, they lived in Cosgrove, Iowa, where their first son, Dennis was born in 1938.
In 1939, they moved to Virginia and Maryland and were employed in national defense work at Fairchild Aircraft Corporation in Hagerstown, Maryland, where she worked as a "Rosie, the Riveter," but resigned that position in 1944 when her second son, Larry, was born.
After World War II, the family moved back to Iowa for a brief stay in Tama where her third son, Paul was born in 1951.
After another short stay in Belle Plaine, the family moved to Des Moines where Martha taught at Holy Trinity School. Later the family moved to Council Bluffs where she taught for eight years in Holy Family School. Her husband, Richard, died in 1971.
While in Council Bluffs, Martha achieved one of her dreams, that of graduating from College. She received her Bachelor's Degree in 1972 at St. Mary's College, Omaha, Nebraska. In 1972 Martha returned to teach in Holy Trinity School in Des Moines where she received the Outstanding Teacher's Award of America in 1975. She retired from teaching in 1979.
In the summer of 1973 and 1974, Martha joined a team of educators, spending the summers in The Dalles, Oregon and Spokane, Washington. She was involved in the writing and publication of a pilot religious educational program for the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. It was used in some of the Catholic Schools in the Northwest.
After retiring, Martha spent four years in Wyoming as a volunteer working at St. Stephens Jesuit Indian Mission, located on the Arapaho and Shoshone Indian Reservation. In 1983, she moved to Ontario, Oregon where she volunteered teaching religion at St. Peter's Catholic School for four years. In 1987, Martha returned to Iowa and made her home in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines until 2007 when she moved to Bend, Oregon to live with her son, Fr. Dennis.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her husband, Richard and two brothers, Cyril and John V. Benda and sister, Hilda (Benda) Zmolek.
Survivors include three sons, Rev. Dennis, retired, Lawrence ( Ellen) of Des Moines, IA, Paul (Marjorie) of Omaha, NE; six grandchildren, Steve and Douglas Strachota, Deborah Irmscher; Traci Williamson, Nicholas and Nathan Strachota and ten great-grandchildren; two sisters, Marcella Parker of Sun Lakes, AZ, and Sr. Ludmilla Benda, R.S.M., Davenport, one brother, Leo Benda, Cedar Rapids, one sister in law, Helen Benda, Toledo, and many nieces and nephews.
Martha was cremated and a family funeral service will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial Gifts may be sent to: Hospice House, 2075 NE Wyatt Court , Bend OR, 97701 or Religious Education- Dioceses of Baker, PO Box 5999, Bend OR 97708