POINT AU FER — Martha Joan (Nuttall) Heath, 83, of Point au Fer Road, Champlain, passed away in her sleep early on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 at the University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital.
She was born in Jamestown, N.Y. on April 19, 1939, the daughter of the late Carroll and Julia Nuttall, of Sherman, N.Y.
Marty enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the tiny hamlet of Sherman, especially when engaged in mischief with her cousins and her life-long friend, Joyce (Buesink) Laramie.
She graduated from Sherman Central School and then enrolled at St. Lawrence University. While there, she met the love of her life, H. Joseph Heath, whom she married on Jan. 3, 1960.
Marty went on to earn a bachelor's degree in English, followed by a Masters degree from Plattsburgh State University..
She soon started a lengthy career as a schoolteacher. An initial brief stint at Chazy Central School led to a new post as a first-grade teacher at Rouses Point Elementary, from where she retired in 1995.
Marty loved watching young minds develop under her guidance, and always said each new class was her favorite.
More important than her role as a teacher was her ability to provide a stable, loving home for her husband and children.
The most striking example of this was the extraordinary care she provided Joe in the aftermath of a life-threatening ruptured aneurysm. She was constantly at his side, even when he was hours away, as he made a miraculous recovery followed by months of rehabilitation and therapy
Marty led an active lifestyle, especially during her younger years. That continued even while coping with a chronic respiratory condition that slowly progressed throughout her later years.
She was an avid golfer through most of her adult life, and a proud member of North Country Golf Club. She especially enjoyed Ladies Day and Interclub competitions with her many friends.
Skiing was another athletic pursuit. The family spent most weekends on the slopes, gradually moving up from Moon Valley and Paleface to Jay Peak and Mont Sutton.
Group outings to Mount Tremblant or Mont Ste Anne were annual highlights. Members of that group later formed a five-couple hiking party that conquered the Presidential Range in New Hampshire.
Marty was a long-time member of several bridge groups, distinguished between "big bridge" and "little bridge" so the kids knew where to find her. She especially enjoyed her turn as host, which allowed her to bring her friends to her home on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain.
Bowling was also a favored pastime, most recently with her fellow keglers in the Guys and Gals League at North Bowl Lanes.
She found a late draw to the house on the ice sheets of the Lacolle Curling Cluband was pleased to be welcomed with open arms and warm hearts.
Marty is survived by her son, Daniel Heath; her daughter, Jamie Heath-Ellis (Irene Ellis); her sisters Sue Calnek (Ed) and Mary-Alice Christopherson (Ed); a cherished cousin, Linda Page; cousins Peggy Pratt and Sally Mesler; her nieces, Julia Calnek, Leigh Christopherson-Engh (Jeff), Dana Carmichael (Brian) and her nephew, Grant Christopherson (Mark).
She was predeceased by her husband, H. Joseph Heath; a brother-in-law, Richard Roark; and a favored childhood cousin, Jimmy Pratt.
Marty also cherished her memories of the myriad dogs, cats and other assorted pets who found refuge in the Heath household.. Most recently, two stray cats and Frances, the rescue dog from Arkansas, were on hand to cuddle in her lap.
Calling hours are scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 5 at Ross Funeral Home in Mooers.
A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 6 at 3 Steeples United Methodist Church in Champlain.
Memorial donations may be made to Elmore SPCA, North Country Mission of Hope or 3 Steeples United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are through Ross Funeral Home in Mooers.
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