This commentary was contributed by community member Joan Sattler. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
A few days ago, Martha Moses passed away and with her passing, a floodgate of memories are coming forth from her legions of friends, and the innumerable organizations and programs she supported during her 61-year residency in Hollister.
Her name was synonymous with the word benefactor. “Benefactor: giving support, protecting, advocating, serving as a participant, a contributor . . . a humanitarian.”
This was Martha. Hers was a life honed in the culture of purpose, of respect, of dedication, and of love.
And those qualities served her well – leading her to active duty in the US Navy during World War II. When asked about her military service, Martha would share heartfelt stories – sometimes told with glistening eyes – eyes that seemed to be actually watching events of 70 years ago and thousands of miles away.
Martha’s interests were vast and diverse. While she probably would have never said “I’m a change agent” she continually participated in organizations that would change the face of San Benito County’s social fabric. The word Benefactor is repeated over and over – “Benefactor, and, Life Member of the Friends of the San Benito County Free Library”; “Founding Benefactor of the Community Foundation for San Benito County”; an enthusiastic member of the Board of Directors of the Hollister Sister City Association – which facilitated the cultural exchange between Takino, Japan and the City of Hollister.
Hazel Hawkins Hospital’s Foundation honored Martha as “our ‘Heart for Hazel’ recipient” for her dedication over the years to the Foundation. Taking a quote from the Foundation Newsletter: “Martha is delighted to see that her contributions have been well spent, especially for Operation Renovation. She has seen many changes to our Hospital and our community and is very proud to have been given the opportunity to give where ever needed.”
In her capacity as Benefactor, Martha absorbed ideas, addressed issues, and generously supported organizations while actively volunteering within those organizations.
Her deep religious faith guided her daily and she lived that faith, whether it was strongly believing in the Women’s Club of Hollister and its stellar mission to serve the community to being a avid member of the Bell Choir at the Hollister Presbyterian Church.
Perhaps, it was that faith in God and in humanity which inspired Martha to “be there” when individuals and families were experiencing profound challenges – particularly during periods of ill health, financial crisis, or posing the critical need for final expenses.
Martha loved to travel and in true “Martha style” she shared those travels with appreciative audiences – at numerous special events.
She loved fundraisers, and teas, and gardening, and building friendships, and parades (as evident in her participation in her last Veterans Day Parade, on November 11) and being a member of Hollister’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9242.
After all is said, perhaps benefactor is just another word for angel.