The Preservation Trust and many others lost a dear friend and colleague when, on May 5, Martha Fuller passed away peacefully at her winter residence in La Paz, Mexico. Her husband, Tim Fuller, was by her side. He reflected that “she was strong, courageous, kind, witty, and funny until the end.”
Strong, courageous, kind, witty, and funny: Martha exhibited all those qualities in full measure even in the relatively short time since she joined our Board of Trustees in February 2019.
As a board member, she served as an Advocacy Ambassador on behalf of the Preservation Trust and the Land Trust Alliance, crafting many letters to federal, state, and local elected officials delivering the message of the importance of conservation. She also served on the Finance Committee, bringing to bear her deep—and, frankly, amazing—background in finance and public service.
Martha befriended many as a beam of sunshine in various roles at the Lower Tavern on Orcas Island (server, short-order cook, back-office helper, etc.), where she relished the sports-bar atmosphere and built ties with her island community.
Unbeknownst to many who knew her, Martha previously worked as Chief Financial Officer of four professional sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, as well as Vulcan Inc. (Paul Allen’s holding company). She began her finance career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen and subsequently served as the Director of Finance and Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Saint Paul, MN.
In addition to her many contributions as a Preservation Trust board member, Martha served on the boards of the Orcas Island Community Foundation, the Orcas Public Library, and as a member of the Eastsound Planning Review Committee and on the OPAL Community Land Trust working group that developed a community loan fund for people seeking affordable housing on Orcas Island.
Born and raised in northwest Indiana, Martha graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, and lived and worked in places as diverse as Seattle, Saint Paul (MN), Tampa (FL), and New Jersey. She and Tim purchased a home on Orcas in 2006, spending weekends and holidays there until they became full-time residents in 2014.
“Even when her health was failing,” Tim wrote shortly after her death,”Martha tried to contribute to the Preservation Trust’s mission any way she could, because she believed so much in it.”
“Martha leaves a legacy of incredible business acumen and passion for community service,” said SJPT Executive Director Angela Anderson. “Her thoughtfulness, humor, and bright smile are indelibly linked to our memories of her.”
In lieu of flowers, Martha’s family has requested donations to the charities she served. Click here to make a gift in her memory to the San Juan Preservation Trust.