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Martha “Marty” Jane Hostetler taught at Bluffton Elementary

Martha “Marty” Jane Hostetler passed away on April 1, 2024. Marty was born on November 22, 1940, the youngest child of William and Elma (Locher) Badertscher of Bluffton. She grew up in the Bluffton area, attended Bluffton College where she met her husband Lowell, and other than a brief stint in the ‘60s, lived her whole life in Bluffton. She and Lowell traveled extensively throughout their 60-year marriage. Between her travel experiences and her insatiable curiosity about everyone and everything, Marty’s world was so much larger than a life lived in a single small town might seem.

In addition to a huge number of friends, Marty enjoyed long-term connections with many of the former students she taught in her 35-year elementary teaching career, most of which she spent at Bluffton Elementary. She was a passionate, animated teacher loved by her students, inspiring many to become teachers themselves.

Marty had a number of hobbies that she pursued, attaining a level of expertise in several. Sewing pieced quilts was a particular passion. Combining colors and patterns that were surprising, but interesting and pleasing was her particular gift. She engaged in quilt-making as an art and studied the work of other masters to understand their ideas and creations. 

She also sewed clothing for herself and others, creating unique items of clothing that reflected the wearer. Marty especially enjoyed making vests as they allowed her to combine clothing design with quilting techniques.

In addition to participation in First Mennonite’s quilting activities, Marty served her church family by singing in the choir for many years. She enjoyed being an alto and bringing harmony to life with the other singers.

Lowell and Marty could often be seen out and about on their bikes, which was a favorite activity for them to do together. There was even a short-lived attempt to master a tandem bicycle, which proved too much for their combined coordination. In her later years, Marty enjoyed using a recumbent tricycle which allowed her to ride despite her worsening health.

Marty’s active mind always needed a novel close by. She and Lowell shared similar reading preferences and would exchange books after reading them. Mysteries and stories involving history were particular favorites.

Those who visited Marty and Lowell’s home could see her passion for decorating at work. Where most homes would have utilitarian items, nearly every item in their house is a unique item of wood or pottery or fabric, blending into an eclectic coziness. Tulips–Marty’s favorite flower–feature prominently in the decor. 

Also featured in their home are many reminders of Marty’s love of animals, particularly dogs and moose. For many years, while living just outside town, she and Lowell had yellow and brown Labrador retrievers. Just recently she was recalling some of the adventures of her dogs, who delighted her with their antics. 

Marty leaves behind many who love her, including her husband Lowell of Bluffton and their cat, Sidney; brother-in-law Alan (Esther) Hostetler of Dalton; nephew Jeff (Sharon) Stahlman of Westerville; niece Kris (Jason) Nussbaum of Dalton; and nephew Joel (Katie) Hostetler of Columbus; 6 great-nieces and -nephews; and 1 great-great-niece.

Marty was preceded in death by many loved ones, including her parents; a brother, John Badertscher and a sister, Mary Stahlman. 

Marty’s services will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at First Mennonite Church, Bluffton with visitation from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the church.  A private burial will take place at Ebenezer Mennonite Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee and the Mennonite Memorial Home of Bluffton.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at