Martha Stapp Bruss

Date of Birth

August 17, 1928

Date of Death

July 19, 2019

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Martha Stapp Bruss, born on August 17, 1928 in Evergreen, Alabama passed peacefully on July 19, 2019 with family at her bedside at her home at The Samarkand.

In her early life, she was employed by The Shell Development Corporation in Emeryville, California where she met and married Dr. Douglas Bruss. She later became a full time homemaker and a devoted mother in Orinda, California.

A resident of Santa Barbara for five decades, she acquired many friends in town from all walks of life. She was as comfortable supporting the homeless, as she was laughing with Father Virgil at Fiesta, or dancing on a cruise ship. She loved teaching the Fish Class, a special needs group, at the First Presbyterian Church, which she did for many years, and also volunteering at CADA. In her later life, she was an active member of the Samarkand campus, where she helped in the gift shop and was a volunteer with the Amazing Grays.  A life long lover of learning, she planned to start her next campus class this July. Having a zest for life, she participated in many activities on campus until the last few weeks of her life.

Martha was a member of the Mission Canyon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Santa Barbara Women’s Club Rockwood, and the Assistance League of Santa Barbara. Donating her time to the Schoolhouse Project at Hillside House was a special pleasure.

Blessed with a love of life, a caring soul, and an infectious smile, she remained positive and optimistic throughout her life. She much preferred to give rather than to receive.

Walking the beach, traveling by train, playing Bridge and spending time with family and friends fed her soul, but she most enjoyed her grandchildren and was always the first to offer to spend time with them. To them, she was known as a “cool grandparent.”

Martha is survived by her sisters, Celia Agnew and Odette Hockin; and her children, Kitty Parente (Stephen) of CT., Celia Hardy (Dennis), Carolyn Paige Petlow (Andrew); and by her grandchildren, Michelle Parente DiMartino of CT., Avery Hardy, and Rexford Hardy; and her great granddaughter, Sierra DiMartino, of CT., along with her nieces and a nephew.  A special thank you to all of the loving and caring staff at The Samarkand. Known there as “Martita,” she considered the compassionate staff there as family, and was treated by them like family.

Our beloved Martha will forever remain in our hearts.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care or to The Samarkand Benevolent Fund.

Arrangements entrusted to McDermott Crockett & Associates Mortuary.


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