Martha Shore Riel

Date of Birth

January 24, 1919

Date of Death

May 31, 2015

Martha Jean Shore changed her family forever when she arrived at their home in rural Coats, Kansas, January 24, 1919. She joined her mother and father, Helen and Howard Shore, and four brothers: Howard Jr., Bill, David and Dick. A fifth brother, Paul, joined the tribe several years later.
As the only girl among six siblings, she learned at an early age how to hold her ground and to work through or around obstacles.
Following her father’s death when she was three, Martha and family moved to a log house near Cody, Wyoming, to homestead.
One of her earliest claims to fame was taking second place in the county spelling bee as a third grader; another was learning to ride bareback, even if under duress. She was also very proud of playing for her high school basketball team.
After graduating from Powell High School in Wyoming in 1936, Martha moved to Seattle where she attended business school with the goal of attending college and becoming a librarian. A blind date changed those plans. She met Percy Wallace Rairden, Jr., on that date, and the two were married several weeks later, shortly before he shipped out to the Pacific with the U.S. Navy. Martha and Wally had three children – Tony, Martha and Kathy – as the family moved from Seattle to China Lake, San Francisco, Corvallis, Honolulu, Charleston, S.C., Los Angeles, Monterey and in 1952 to Santa Barbara.
Friends and family describe her as caring, clever, opinionated and funny. She was known for her sly humor, joy in being silly, determination, independence, and love of animals, especially her dogs Sam, Annie and Daisy.
She loved babies, fireworks, kite festivals, honky-tonk piano, Christmas and the zoo. She delighted in school performances, recitals, local theatre and the piano performances at Heritage House as well as the weekly Happy Hours there.
Martha had a knack for knowing exactly what young grandchildren would enjoy including flashlights, dress-ups from the thrift store and purses filled with mirrors, chap stick, tissues and other treasures.
She regularly raided her son-in-law’s cast-off wardrobe to dress Charles, her driving buddy. Charles was, technically, a handsome mannequin, who rode in her passenger seat for safety, not the carpool lane. His preferred attire was seersucker blazer and a snappy tweed ascot hat.
A community leader, Martha was active with Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, PTAs and Mended Hearts, which she served as president.
She traveled quite a lot with her second husband, George Riel, seeing much of the state, country and some of Europe with him.
An avid reader with an accomplished green thumb, Martha worked in the insurance industry and as a county administrative secretary. In retirement, she devoted many hours to Mended Hearts and to neighborhood activism. In her 80s she acted on two of her longtime goals – a ride in a hot air balloon and a flight in a glider, which she found exhilarating.
Her son, Tony, and her four older brothers predeceased Martha. She is survived by her brother Paul, daughters Kathryn Rairden and Martha Lannan, grandchildren Leslie, Michael and Hillary Lannan and Lindsey Rairden and several nieces and nephews.
In honor of Martha, contributions may be made to the local chapter of Mended Hearts c/o K. Fox, 22 W. Pedregosa St., Santa Barbara 93101. They may also be made to Cold Noses Warm Hearts, a dog rescue organization, c/o Little Dog House, 5758 Hollister Ave., Goleta 93117.


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