Mrs. Martha Lou Vance, age 87, of Russellville, MO, passed away on February 6, 2023, at home surrounded by family.
Marty was born on December 5, 1935, in Macon, MO, daughter of Vernon and Vangie Leist.
Martha Lou Leist was proud of her hometown; she shared memories with her kids of Louie’s, a teenage hang-out where she would dance and drink cherry phosphate. Even when dementia started to rob her of memories, her face would light up like the young cheerleader she had been when she chanted, “Macon Tigers, yessiree!” Seeking comfort as her Alzheimer’s progressed, she daily asked to go to Macon many years after she’d left.
Attending the University of Missouri, she met Joel M. Vance on a blind date. After a three-month courtship, he proposed to her on the Larry Don boat on the Lake of the Ozarks, asking, “How does Marty Vance sound?” She replied, “Just fine.” For 64 years, she was his “lantern in the window at the end of a long, cold day,” as he would later write in the dedication of one of his many published works. They are now together after his death in 2020.
Being a champion of her husband’s writing career, she accompanied him on many outdoor trips around the world including rafting and horse packing the Grand Canyon and cruising the Inside Passage in Alaska.
Raising five children, she selflessly attended to everyone else’s needs, usually not fixing a plate for herself at dinner, but just eating the leftovers after the family was fed. Her getaway once a month was her meeting with PEO, a philanthropic organization that recognized her for 50 years of membership in 2013, awarding her Golden Girl status.
She taught her kids self-reliance, outfitting a family of seven and two Collie dogs to canoe and camp on a scenic Missouri river gravel bar, or sewing prom dresses and blue jean patches with equal aplomb. Citing her favorite axiom, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” she saved bread ties and refused plastic grocery bags long before recycling became mainstream.
In their retirement, Joel and Marty traveled extensively, from visiting fellow writers in Wales and England to enjoying Broadway shows and art galleries in New York City. Nurturing her artistic abilities, Marty attended Taos Art School creating paintings that hang on the walls of the family home.
Marty is survived by: daughter, Carrie (Ron) DeValk of Woodland Park, CO; son, J.B. Vance; son, Eddie (Becky) Vance of Russellville; son, Andy Vance of Russellville; daughter, Amy (Brad) Binkley of Jefferson City; 11 grandchildren; and 5 great-grandchildren.
A private outdoor celebration of life will be held with family members.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Conservation Federation of Missouri.
Services entrusted to Trimble Funeral Homes – Jefferson City. trimblefunerals.com