Mary Alice Martens-Cotton died January 31st, 2018 at age 38, after a two-year struggle with endometrial cancer.
Mary Alice was born in Doylestown, PA in 1979, and adopted at three days old by Patricia and William Martens. She grew up in Lancaster, PA, and graduated from Hempfield High School in 1997, before attending Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia for her bachelor's and master's degrees in creative writing. From an early age, she was a gifted writer. She always wanted to write a book, but her family came first for her, and unfortunately she died before she was able to complete it.
After graduate school, she lived for a time in Columbia, MO, before moving to Portland, OR. While in Portland, she met her future wife, Jennifer Cotton. The two married in August 2009, and welcomed a son, Callum, in 2011, and a daughter, Elara, in 2013. In 2014, the family moved to Silver Spring, MD, where they have resided since.
Mary Alice was an avid reader, and enjoyed crocheting, trying new recipes and new restaurants, and spending time near the ocean. She was a good friend, and cared deeply about her community. Mary Alice was a devoted nanny for many years, and helped raise more than half a dozen children from infancy to preschool, as well as caring for the children of a Hollins classmate who herself was diagnosed with terminal cancer a couple of years before Mary Alice's diagnosis. Most of all, Mary Alice loved being with her family, and she found great satisfaction taking care of them, as well as enjoying adventures together. In December 2017, she fulfilled a long-time dream by going with her wife and children to Disneyworld and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Mary Alice is survived by her wife Jenny and children Callum and Elie, as well her parents, Patty and Bill Martens. She is also survived by brothers Robert Martens (wife Stacey), James Martens (wife Sarah, and children Cameron, Jackson, and Carter), and Frank Caligiuri (wife Erin, and children Audra and the forthcoming Joannah), and sisters Cynthia Martens (children Ryan and Aria) and Laura Babbit (husband Sean, and children Gabriella and Oliver), and long-time friend Jessica Zenoka (wife Brenda). She will remain in the hearts of her family and the friends who loved her dearly.
A celebration of Mary Alice's life will take place on Saturday, February 10th, 2018, at 2 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring (10309 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903). Donations in her memory can be made to the Cancer Research Institute, the Southern Poverty Law Center, or the Montgomery County Public Libraries, the source of many happy hours for Mary Alice and her family.