Martha "Marty" VanDusen
Martha Gwen VanDusen
Martha “Marty” Gwen VanDusen passed away in Everett, WA on March 19, 2018 from injuries sustained in an auto accident. She was 49 years of age. Marty was born December 10, 1968 in Manassas, VA to William and Margaret (Bauer) VanDusen. She attended elementary school in Virginia through the third grade then moved with her family in 1979 to Oak Harbor, WA. Marty was a 1987 graduate of Oak Harbor High School.
After graduation, Marty attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, where she majored in history. She graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree.
Marty was married to Mark Vander Meulen for several years before divorcing in 2008. Prior to 2008, Mark and Marty lived in DeKalb, IL and Pittsburg, PA. In both locations, Marty used her history degree, serving as a docent and tour guide in restored historical homes. She later was hired as a docent and a demonstrator of various science related experiments at the Carnegie Science Center, one of four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburg.
Also in Pittsburg, her love of theater, which began in her college days, continued with her talented costume designs for the casts of several plays.
After her divorce, Marty moved back to Washington, and her love of children led her to a new career in pre-school and daycare. For the last 4 ½ years she was employed at Bright Horizons at West Seattle as a Child Care Specialist and performed some administrative duties. At the time of her death she was involved with the development of curriculum for pre-school children. She was passionate about the children she taught. When she spoke of their accomplishments her eyes would light up with pride.
Besides her love for children and history, Marty enjoyed learning foreign languages and spoke some French, Spanish and enough Portuguese to get her by when she traveled on a mission trip to Brazil and more recently to the Azores.
Marty didn’t make friends quickly because she was fiercely loyal. Once you were her friend she would do anything to help. That included being there when a friend needed to get out of a damaging relationship. So much about Marty was the joy she offered to others and the joy she received from helping.
Marty is survived by her mother Meg VanDusen of Oak Harbor and brother Eric (Frances) VanDusen of Hampton, VA. Also surviving is an uncle, John Bauer, of Salem, OR and an aunt Marian VanDusen and three cousins of Vancouver, BC. She was preceded in death by her father William and a niece, Katy VanDusen.
A memorial service for Marty will be held on Saturday, May 5 at 1:00 pm at the First Reformed Church of Oak Harbor with Pastor Matt Waite and Chaplain David G Lura officiating. A reception will follow in Wezeman Hall.
The family suggests memorials in Marty’s name to the Oak Harbor Education Foundation, PO Box 1801, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.wallinfuneralhome.com.