BENNINGTON -- Former Mount Anthony Union High School Spanish teacher Mary Ann Martinez, who passed away on July 26 at the age of 64, will be remembered for her generous nature and her contributions to the school.
Martinez, who taught at MAUHS for parts of the 80s and 90s, returned to Bennington after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2007, according to longtime friend and fellow MAU teacher Ruth Bolton.
"This was home for her," Bolton said, "She wanted to come home."
Martinez was born on Dec. 10, 1949 in Kingston, Pennsylvania, and received her bachelor's degree from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Before coming to Bennington, she taught at schools in Kingston, Pennsylvania; Englewood and Venice, Florida; and Rutland, Vermont.
After leaving MAU, she continued to teach, spending time in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Colchester, Connecticut. She was married in Spain to Jesus Martinez Moso in 1971. Unfortunately, Mr. Martinez passed away in 1972.
According to her obituary, Martinez was survived by her son Michael Martinez, her granddaughter Anne Martinez, her brother John Butnor, and her sister Joan Butnor.
"The thing that stands out to me most about her as a teacher," said current MAUHS language department chair Carmela Kovage, who taught with Martinez for her entire tenure at MAU, "is how much she cared about kids and really wanted them to gain an appreciation for the culture of the countries that speak Spanish.
Bolton remembered Martinez working with other language teachers to create exchange programs to other countries, including France, Germany, and what was known at that time the former Soviet bloc. Those programs, after Martinez left the school, eventually transformed into the more general trips MAU students go on today, such as their trip to Nicaragua. "It just got to be too many different trips," said Kovage.
According to Bolton, when the Bennington Free Clinic first opened, Martinez volunteered her time to translate for migrant workers who needed the services the clinic provided, but couldn't communicate with the staff. "She was a very generous friend," she said, "she was always willing to give her time if she could."
Martinez was also heavily involved in the teacher's union during her time at MAU, and continued to be an active member of the Sacred Heart St. Francis De Sales Roman Catholic Church in Bennington.
"She was a very kind, generous person," said Kovage.
The guestbook on Martinez's obituary on Legacy.com was filled with condolences from friends, former colleagues, and former students. "I am so sorry for you loss," wrote Stephanie Hurley of Bennington, "Mary Ann was a great woman and teacher. I had the pleasure of traveling to Spain with her while I was in high school. She will be missed."
"I had the pleasure of working with Mary Ann at MAUHS. She was a delightful lady," wrote Sarina Monahan of Pownal.
"Mrs. Martinez taught me Spanish at Mount Anthony," wrote Corine Hoyt of Pownal, "She was a great teacher, and never gave up on me."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB