A Tribute to a Life Well Lived

The Watcher (excerpt)
By Margaret Widdemer

She always leaned to watch for us
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

The long way home would seem more safe,
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget,
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

A Tribute to a Life Well Lived

martha-davis-schoeningMartha Davis Schoening, 95, passed away peacefully, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, in Dartmouth, MA.

A loving mother, spouse, and grandmother—Martha cared about the world and her community, her church and her friends.

She was born on May 1, 1921, in Albany, GA, the third child to Edward Bertrand and Mattie Mae Walker Davis. She was predeceased by her parent and siblings Anne (Brian) Russell Higgins, Evelyn, and Edward “Ned” (Pat) Bertrand.

Martha graduated from Florida State College for Women in 1942, a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, majoring in education and economics. Following college, she was employed in Washington, DC with Russell Leavitt and then with Richard Bissell at War Shipping Administration (1942–44) and Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (1944–46). Post-War, Martha worked with Bissell at MIT in Cambridge (1946–48).

On a ski trip in NH, Martha met her love of 64 years, Harry August Schoening, Jr. They married on August 5, 1948, in West Palm Beach, FL and lived in Providence, RI where Martha worked for the Providence Journal financial department (1948-1950). The advent of their first child, Harry August III, in 1950, prompted a move to Plainville, MA, down the street from their lifelong friends, Mary Claire and Bob Adams, who were also introduced on that fateful ski trip.

Three more children were born: Jeffrey Davis, Andrea and Robert Lane. Martha’s life in Plainville was a blissful mélange of caroling, trick or treating, walking the neighborhood with the children and dog Dobie, children’s sporting events, great friendships and a family life that has engendered stories enjoyed to the present.  She was involved not only with the family but also the PTA, numerous charitable functions and substitute teaching.

The family moved to South Dartmouth, MA, in 1967 when Harry took a position at Titleist. Martha began teaching Special Education in New Bedford at Hathaway Elementary in 1970 and continued until retirement in 1983.

While in Dartmouth, Martha was active at the Congregational Church of South Dartmouth where she was a deacon and held numerous board positions, and served in the church library.

Martha loved the outdoors and spent much time sailing, bicycling, golfing, bowling, hiking, walking Juneau, flower viewing, and time on the back porch with friends and family. In her later years she became the number one fan at her grandchildren’s sporting events, often offering sage advice to the presiding officials. Martha also traveled extensively with Harry, seeing much of North America, Europe and Asia.

Martha had a creative side, too exhibited by the many art classes she took and the knitted sweaters and hats made for her children and grandchildren.

On May 17, 2011, Martha was predeceased by her beloved Harry.  She bore that loss with her customary strength and dignity, choosing to concentrate on life’s positives until the end.

Martha is survived by her four children and their spouses: Harry (Amy), Jeff (Mira), Andrea (Bill Novakowski), and Rob (Mary Beth “MB”), her six grandchildren: James, Max, Cara, Anna, Maggie, and Connor, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Junior Achievement of Southern MA, 227 Union Street, New Bedford, MA  02740 or DRNT, PO Box 70567, Dartmouth, MA 02747 would be appreciated.

Calling hours are Friday, October 28th from 4-7 PM in the Wilson Chapel, 479 Count Street, New Bedford, MA.  The Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, October 29th at 11 AM at the Congregational Church of South Dartmouth, 17 Middle Street, South Dartmouth, MA.