Obituary: Martha Lu Tucker Fugate

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2002 10:17 a.m. MST

Martha Lu Tucker Fugate passed away on March 4, 2002 at Residence Care Source in Salt Lake City at the age of 81. She was surrounded by children, grandchildren, and vibrant, joyous great-grandchildren.

Martha was born on Sept. 23, 1920, in Idmon, Idaho to Sarah Merrell MacDonald and Rufus Dudley Tucker. She was delivered by her father, a coun

try doctor, about whom she later wrote a historic biography.

She was married to Ralph Garwood Fugate on March 8, 1945 in West Virginia, and they had three children, 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Martha graduated from Midway High School in Lewisville, just north of Idaho Falls, at the age of 16 years, and was chosen to be valedictorian of her class. She went on to BYU where she gained her first recognition as an accomplished poet. Many of her works have since been published.

During her college years, her summers were spent working at Yellowstone Park, these were among the most pleasant memories of her youth and served as further inspiration for favorite poems. Her love of the West, especially the mountains, was frequently translated into paintings.

Following her graduation from BYU, a short teaching and social work career, she enlisted in the Navy as a WAVE in 1944. It was there she met Ralph, a top gunnery student and enthusiastic suitor.

She was unique - one of the few women qualified at that time as a bombing instructor. A favorite family story is that of an elegant and refined young English teacher, with a streak of adventurousness, teaching a character like Dad (Grandpa), how to use top-secret military equipment. It was the start of a great romance, complete with love letters, travels together, trail rides in her favorite mountains, summer homes, and decades of championship Scrabble! As an astute businessman himself, Dad was particularly appreciative of and grateful for her support in the development of his own business. They later shared an interest in and development of a western supply store in Heber City, Utah, which was a perfect complement to their love of raising and showing horses.

Martha was never without a job or assignment in her Church and especially enjoyed teaching positions. After her husband's death in 1990, she filled a Genealogical Mission for the LDS Church in Scotland during 1992-93. It was something they had hoped to do together but Ralph Fugate would have been very proud of her fulfillment of their goal. She was an active member of the Utah Poetry Society, the DUP and DAR until her health no longer permitted.

Her hand-knit sweaters and hand-sewn quilts for grandchildren are legendary, as are her love of language and education. Her family understood and appreciated her deep desire to support all her grandchildren in their education.

She was a strong force in her family and a focus of many high-spirited family gatherings, which her children will continue, in her honor.

The family wishes to thank Doctors Agy, Beams and Pedersen at St. Marks Hospital for their humanity and care. The kindness of the staff at Brighton Gardens made Martha's concluding days in this life sweeter and gentler. A special thank you must be expressed to the family of caregivers at CareSource Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6th at the Midway 1st Ward, 250 East 200 South. Friends may call between 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5th at Olpin Mortuary, 288 North Main, Heber, and for one hour prior to services on Wednesday. Burial will be at Midway City Cemetery.

Martha leaves her genuine love for life, compassion and humor with her three children, Sarah Fugate, Dr. Rebecca Trussell (Rick) and R.D. Fugate (Laurie Jo); 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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