Mary Louise Martin 1936 - 2021

Mary Louise Martin was born May 10, 1936, in Langlois, Oregon, the youngest daughter of Eva Mary Capps and John Manley Donaldson. She died December 7, 2021, at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center following a heart aneurysm.

Mary grew up on the family farm in Langlois during lean times in the aftermath of the Depression. She was deeply influenced by both the frugality and the generosity of her father, John, and mother, Eva, who ranched cattle and managed the store and post office in Langlois. There was always an extra seat at the Donaldson table for anyone less fortunate. Mary graduated in 1954 from Langlois Pacific High School.

Mary married her high school sweetheart, Noel A. Martin, in January of 1955. They soon moved to McMinnville, Oregon, where Mary supported Noel through graduation from Linfield College. Mary and Noel joined the First Baptist Church and centered their lives on raising their four children.

In the early 1970s, Mary and four other McMinnville women opened The Book Shop (now Third Street Books). The five friends operated the downtown business as a hub for cultural, educational and civic enrichment.

Shortly after partnering at The Book Shop, Mary earned her real estate license and began a 45-year career at Willamette West Realty. A successful Realtor who was named Realtor of the Year in 1995, Mary spent much of her professional time working to ensure that those less financially able had a willing and able champion toward home ownership.

Mary undertook much of her philanthropic work through the First Baptist Church, where in the last years of her life she worked tirelessly, addressing the needs of the unhoused in McMinnville. However, her giving spread far beyond the work of the church. Her children, grandchildren, extended family members, students passing through Linfield, and neighbors all had their lives deeply impacted by Mary’s generosity. As an unwavering friend to those living on the street, Mary always carried new socks and emergency food to go along with her warm greeting.

In 2017, the town of McMinnville honored Mary as Woman of the Year in recognition of her lifelong service as a leading business owner, generous philanthropist, and committed civic activist.

Mary is survived by her children, Noel Martin and wife, Gail Saunders-Martin, John Martin and partner, Kayann Short, Stacy Martin and husband, Robert Higgins, Robert Martin and wife, Cheryl Martin; sister, Ruth Engelbart; grandchildren, Kelly Martin, Amanda Martin, Rachel Martin, Ariane Streeter, Eva Higgins-Martin, Rebecca Higgins, Adam Higgins, Adrian Martin, and Ian Martin; and great-grandchildren, Holly, Faye, Collin, Jacob, Cortland, Norah, River, Ruby and Gretta.

 She was preceded in death by her husband, Noel; her brother, Jack; and her grandson, Noel Daniel.

 Please send memories, stories or thoughts to be printed in a bulletin that will be distributed at the service to

 With concern about our family, friends and community, we ask that you do not attend Mary’s memorial service in person if you are unvaccinated, feeling unwell, or it is unsafe to travel.  We ask you to wear a mask inside the church and to sign in when you arrive with contact information in case it is needed.  For those unable to attend but would like to watch, the service will be live-streamed through the First Baptist Church’s Facebook Page:

 In lieu of flowers, Mary has requested donations either be sent to: The Mary Donaldson Fund at Western Oregon University, or the First Baptist Church Major Maintenance Endowment Fund. 

 Aunt Mary Donaldson was a role model and mentor for Mary from age 16 on, when her mother Eva passed. The Mary Donaldson Scholarship, set up in 1991, benefits students interested in teaching.  Here are the different ways to make a gift to the Mary Donaldson Fund in memory of Mary Martin: 

Online: Follow this URL: to the online giving page. From there, please select designation as "other" and type in Mary Donaldson Fund. At the bottom of the page, there is an option to make the gifts in memory. All who mark a gift made in Mary's name will be shared with the family.

Over the phone: Gifts can be made over the phone by calling 503-838-8814. Upon calling, friends and family will need to state that this is an in-memory gift and needs to benefit the Mary Donaldson Trust Fund. 

 By sending a check to: WOU Foundation, 345 Monmouth Ave. N., Monmouth, OR 97361. In the notes section, please list "Mary Donaldson Fund - In memory of Mary Martin."

Mary, a long-time member of the First Baptist Church, was dedicated to the upkeep of the beautiful building and its congregation.  To donate specifically to the First Baptist Church Major Maintenance Endowment Fund, follow this 




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