Martha Louise Atchison, of Tonasket, died Thursday, July 8, 2010, at North Valley Extended Care, with her family at her side.
Martha was born in Pine Creek, Wash. on April 25, 1919, to Austrian immigrants, Jacob and Christina Zachman. Martha attended Lower Pine Creek and Riverside schools. She reluctantly left school at the age of 13, after her mother’s death, to care for her younger siblings. While growing up, she enjoyed horseback riding and sledding. She traveled the rodeo circuit as a trick rider, where she met and married Beverly Conner, a rodeo star, and they had a daughter, Roberta. He drowned while preparing for the Omak Suicide Race on July 4, 1942. Roberta was six months old. On Nov. 18, 1943, Martha married Charlie Atchison at Okanogan. Her sister, Elsie, drove Roberta and her to California in a snowstorm to meet Charlie, who was stationed there in the Army. Martha worked in a laundry, along side German prisoners during WWII, whom she said were quite young and very respectful. After the War, they moved back to the Tonasket area to work a family lumber and logging business. She and Charlie had four more children. Not only did she raise her children, she also took care of many more people over the years. She was known for her great cooking, where she opened her home to all family members and “the bachelors,” followed by card parties.
Every year, Martha looked forward to fishing season, gardening and finding lots of ripe huckleberries. For the past 50 years, she lived in the log house they built on Bonaparte Creek. After retirement, Charlie and Martha enjoyed traveling, where she fished in Alaska with her son, Don. Martha was a longtime member of the Tonasket Eagles, where she enjoyed weekly bingo, pinochle and cribbage. She had fun gambling with her sister, Dorothy. Martha’s life centered around her family.
Martha was preceded in death by her husband, Charlie; brothers: Jack, Joe, Mike, Wally, Art and Alfred; one sister, Elsie Hagood White; and an infant son, Jack.
She is survived by one sister, Dorothy Walter; children: Roberta (Bill) Maple, Don (Patricia) Atchison, Chuck (Terri) Atchison and Carlene (John) Denison, all of Tonasket; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren and one due in September; and her wonderful caregiver, Theresa McKinsey.
A celebration of her life will be held at the Tonasket Rodeo Grounds on Friday, July 23, 2010, at 2:30 p.m.
Legacy Memorial Funeral Home has been entrusted with caring for the family. www.legacymemorial.info