Thank You Sylvia Martin


When I walked through Sylvia Martin’s front door, I did not see an old woman, but rather a young lady, vibrant, fierce, and full of life, even at 90.

After writing the original profile Thank You Sylvia Martin for the Cricket back in 2019, chronicling Sylvia’s life growing up in Essex, she and I began spending time together regularly and a friendship grew. Sylvia was house bound, so I would do the “knock and walk” every few months or so.  Always bringing her favorite scones or, if I had time, a homemade pie.  We would chat easily for two plus hours, always surprised by the time and upon leaving declare that we had to do it again soon.  We each shared about our lives, our struggles, our hopes.  She was eternally relevant.  And a wonderful friend.

Sylvia Martin passed away on Thursday, June 29th.  I had been in touch with her lovely nephew Glenn, initially when she was placed in intensive care and then with relief in a message that, in typical Sylvia fashion, she had perked up and was quite interested in having dessert. I was looking forward to seeing her.

As you will see from her obituary, she had a busy and full life.  Filled with accomplishments and loved ones.  However, none of this can convey the intense curiosity, lively opinions, or the endearing sparkle she had.  She was whip smart with a clarity and recall enviable at any age, much less 90.  Though she could not leave the chair in her living room, her mind still traveled far and wide, reading constantly on her iPad, listening to the chatter on the local Essex radio, and engaging in a robust life on Facebook.  During our visits she was always brimming with questions, ideas, and memories.

But today, here, now, I wish I’d asked more questions, made more visits; I wish we had more time.  And yet, I find myself more wistful than sad as Sylvia had such a long and marvelous life — by choice.  She saw the events of her life, many of which were arguably quite difficult, through a lens of gratitude, curiosity, and joy.  When I first interviewed her, she told me that she did not have a single bad memory from her childhood.  Can you imagine?  Not a one.  That was a choice.  To choose good memories over bad ones.  Something she did again and again.  We should all be so lucky as to have this little bit of Sylvia in us.  To see through her eyes.  Happily.  So once again, once and for all, thank you Sylvia Martin.  We will miss you.

Full obituary on Page 2.

sylvia martin, glenn, whip, chair