Evanston Obituary: Bette Martin, 99, Former Crown Center Receptionist

Martin was once a Quaker Oats Girl. She was involved in a large number of Evanston clubs and organizations.

The following obituary is from Donnellan Family Funeral Services:

Mary Elizabeth "Bette" Martin, a resident of Evanston for 60 years, died March 16, 2014 at The Presbyterian Home. She was 99. Born on New Year’s Day in 1915, Bette was raised in Chicago by her doting parents, Morris and Elizabeth Long Knudson. 

Her father taught her to drive at thirteen and she became her mother’s chauffeur. Her Senn High School years included a stint as a Quaker Oats Girl at 1933’s Century of Progress World’s Fair. Her love of debate, acting and children’s theater led to her “talking her way” into Northwestern’s School of Speech. 

A wartime bride, Bette married Texan George William Martin on Valentine’s Day, 1942. They were married for 58 years. A son, James Frederick (Hope McCulloch), and a daughter, Mimi (Paul Iams) were raised in Evanston. 

Bette was an active member of the North End Mother’s Club, The Woman’s Club of Evanston, Highland Garden Club (roses were her specialty), The PEO, and her speech sorority, Zeta Phi Eta. A member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church for over 60 years, she sang in the choir and served on altar guild. 

Bette’s special devotion was to her beloved Northwestern. For eighteen years, she was the receptionist at Rebecca Crown Center, the first person who greeted all the highest dignitaries for NU’s presidents and chancellors. Bette was a member of University Circle and Guild, John Evans Club, Benchwarmers, the Alumnae Board of Directors and was honored with Northwestern’s Service Award. At her retirement party, she was called “the crown jewel of Crown Center”. 

After NU, she and George traveled the world. Nanny was a proud grandmother to Faith, Aimee, Beth and Beep, introducing them to theater at Northwestern and teaching them poker at an early age. She was delighted by her great grandchildren, Nora, Shea, Sadie and Teddy. Funny and fabulous, she will be missed by her family and scores of friends. 

Info: (847) 675-1990 or www.donnellanfuneral.com


Saturday March 29, 2014, 3:00 PM at Presbyterian Homes Elliott Chapel, 3131 Simpson Street, Evanston, Illinois 60201 
Click for Map and Directions


Born: January 1, 1915
Death: March 16, 2014


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Memorial donations can be made to: 
Saint Mathew's Episcopal Church, 2110 Lincoln Street, Evanston, IL 60201


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