Burghdoff, Martha R.
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On Thursday, January 21, 2021, Martha Rebecca Burghdoff, loving wife and mother, joined her heavenly father at the age of 95. Martha was living at her home of 65 years, with Robert, her husband of 75 years, and would tell you she was ”Doing as well as an old lady can”, until her heart just stopped beating. Bob and Martha had 3 children: Charlie (Patti McWhinney), Lynda Tulick (Rocky), and Larry (Vicki Smith).
Martha was born in Cannon Falls, MN. She experienced a lot, early in life. The Great Depression drove the family to relocate to the south where they lived in Louisiana and Arkansas. When a tornado wiped out their farm, Martha and her sisters went on the road with their father Albert as migrant workers. They started by picking cotton and then followed the fruit harvest north. When an opportunity to purchase a farm in Middleville presented itself, they packed up and moved to Michigan. In Michigan she worked on the farm raising thousands of turkeys. She attended and graduated from Thornapple Kellogg High School, where she met her husband to be Robert Burghdoff.
Even after they married, her traveling days were not over, as Robert was drafted and she moved with him to Anniston, Al. Martha lived in an apartment just outside the base, where she kept the home fires burning while raising their son Charlie, until Bob was deployed to the European theatre in WWII. Then, she returned to Michigan to live with relatives. After Bob was discharged, they moved around from the farm to a couple small houses, until they found property on Algonquin Lake where Bob and Martha, along with many of their relatives, were able to build their forever home. Martha was happy to arrive at someplace permanent. Throughout her life, she loved to travel, even if just to go for a ride for the day, but Martha was always glad to come back home.
Her early experience led her to understand God and family were the most important things in her life. Martha’s belief in God never faltered. She was always the one to lead the prayers at mealtime, and made sure the story of Christ was heard by all before opening Christmas presents. Her faith carried her through the rough times for her entire life. She loved gospel music and particularly enjoyed singing those songs as she sang with the Nashville 5 Plus for many years.
She loved to cook for her family and cherished the time when the kids all gathered at the house for holidays or whatever reason. Even when just dropping by, she always wanted to fix something for you before you left. You could always expect her to prepare your favorites for your birthday. Even if groceries were on the low side, she could whip up a tasty, filling meal in a hurry. She took meals on wheels to a whole new level because whenever she visited, there was a prepared meal in the back seat.
Martha was a seamstress at home and at work. She worked for 25 years sewing baby clothes at Baby Bliss in Middleville. But, that was a small part of her sewing. She made baby clothes, dresses, and anything else anyone needed. The grandkids were always well dressed, and she could mend things that really should have been tossed out, and make them look like new.
Her hands were never still. She was an artist with a crochet hook. She would start with a ball of string, and soon there would be a snowflake like pattern, and before you knew it there was a doily, or a table runner, or whatever else she could imagine. She made hundreds of hand towels and crocheted around the edges of each one. She also kept busy knitting, doing embroidery, and she engraved plaques, badges, nameplates, etc… She may have been relaxing in her chair, or riding in the car, but her hands were never idle. Martha was always busy.
In her High School yearbook, Martha wrote “I just want to be happy” and she spent a lifetime doing it. She understood being happy is a choice and she chose to be happy.
Martha was the anchor for her family, always there to support them and cheer them on, or just to listen when they needed to talk. She leaves a gaping hole in our hearts and will be dearly missed.
Martha was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Ella Pederson, her son Charlie, granddaughter Jeannine, sisters Sarah Styers, Marion Treat, Rose Marie Otto, infant brother Thomas Pederson, and son-in-law Rocky Tulick.
Martha is survived by her husband Robert, daughter Lynda Tulick, son Larry (Vicki), daughter-in-law Patti (Osbun) McWhinney, and sister, Rachel Sutton. She is also survived by grandchildren Deanne, Arron, Susan, Kari, Matt, and Nick, great-grandchildren Travis, Garrett, Tori, Jordan, Madison, Blake, and Bryce, and great-great-grandchildren Hayden, Effy, and Nolan, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Martha’s family will receive friends on Wednesday, January 27, 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Beeler-Gores Funeral Home where her funeral service will be conducted on Thursday, January 28, 2021, at 11:00 AM. In keeping with health and safety guidelines, seating inside the funeral home will be limited and masks are required. The family also invites individuals to join them via the Facebook livestream link below. Burial will take place in Rutland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to Barry County Commission on Aging. Please visit www.beelergoresfuneral.com to share a memory or leave a condolence message for Martha’s family.