Rosa Maria Martí
Date of Birth: July 10, 1927
Date of Death: March 8, 2020
Rosa Maria Martí (née Maria Rosa Martí Ferré), born July 10th, 1927, in Barcelona, Spain, passed away on March 8th, 2020 at the age of 92 in Barboursville. She was predeceased by her infant brother Jordi Martí Ferré, mother Francesca Ferré Mestre, father Pelegrí Martí Roig, brother-in-law John Hawes Miller, Jr., brother Lluis Martí Ferré, sister-in-law Maria Ramon Pisa, niece Assumpta Huguet, nephew Jordi Martí Ramon, “partner in crime” Carmen Casares, and her grandniece Crystal Dale Chambers.
Rosa Maria was a Spanish Civil War survivor who endured many hardships as a child. Yet her indomitable spirit of resistance to both authority and social convention — along with her nearly boundless sense of humor — enabled her to live a long and rewarding life. In the 1950s, she worked for Metro Goldwyn Mayer in Barcelona, helping edit out love scenes from Hollywood films censored by the Franco Dictatorship. She later worked in London as an au pair and spent time on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — and then Locust Valley, Long Island — with her dear friend Jean Loud. In 1960, she moved to Shoals in Wayne County to join her sister and brother-in-law’s household, where she was received with Appalachian warmth and enthusiasm. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Education from Marshall University and a Master’s Degree in Spanish Peninsular Literature from West Virginia University before beginning her career teaching foreign languages (Spanish, French, and occasionally her native Catalan) at the high school and college levels in Maryland and Michigan. Throughout her career, she frequently travelled home to Barcelona, to France to visit her niece Maria Lluisa, and elsewhere in Europe, as well as to Mexico and Spain leading students on study abroad trips. After retirement from the Okemos, Michigan public school system in 1988, she moved back to Huntington to be near family.
Rosa Maria was widely known as “Tieta,” “Aunt” in Catalan. Aunthood was a role she embraced with tremendous enthusiasm. She had six nieces and nephews in Barcelona and three in the United States. She loved and entertained all of them alongside their children and grandchildren, and the children and grandchildren of her friends. Though her first transatlantic trips were by steamship, she became something of a “jetsetter” in the 1960s, travelling to exotic locales with her friends Jean and Nelson, and bringing home wondrous souvenirs and wild stories to her nieces and nephews. There was no more enthusiastic babysitter or spontaneous party organizer. She wore wild colors and leopard print garments before their time and taught everyone to do the Twist and the Tiro-liro. She was a generous giver of gifts and committed sybarite with respect to food and drink. Her so-called “Bomba” drinks were legion and legendary. Until the final weeks of her life, any problem she faced could be mitigated, if not erased entirely, through the consumption of a dozen or so oysters on the half shell. Most who met her would understatedly describe her as one-of-a kind or a pistol.
She is survived by her loving sister Maria Teresa Miller, her niece Maria Lluisa Curto and husband Jeanot Curto, her nephew Ricard Martí Ramon, her nephew Xavier Martí Ramon and wife Neus Homs, her nephew Marc Martí Ramon and wife Àngels Homs, her niece Maria Teresa (Teresona) Martí Ramon and husband Joaquím Grau, her niece Maria Rosa Germain and husband Glenn Germain, her nephew Marc Martí Miller and wife Marisol Yago Toledano, and her niece Montserrat Miller and husband Dan Holbrook. Her passing is mourned by grandnieces and grandnephews on both sides of the Atlantic: Eva Curto and husband Joan Maria, Marion Curto, and Mimica Curto; Bryan Chambers, Lenna Chambers and husband Josep Carbó, Elizabeth Chambers, and John Holbrook; Estela Martí and Gerard Martí; Maria Grau and David Grau; Lluis Martí and Marcel Martí; Domenica Queen and husband Justin Queen; Carl Germain and Nora Germain; and by her great grandnieces and great grandnephews, Trey Chambers, Nick Chambers, Júlia Mallarach, Guillem Mora, Joaquim Grau and Liam Grau, Mónica Carbó, Mèrce Carbó, and Marcus Martí Chambers.
She is also survived by her dearest friends María Carmen and Steve Riddel, Ana Bahr, Niles Riddel, Manena Willberger, and David and Rainey Duke. Her family is deeply indebted to the many kindnesses provided to her in the sunset of her life by David and Janie McDaniel, Julian Saad, Ryan Adkins, Kristina McCallister, Giovanni Brunetti, her physicians, the staffs at Medical Arts Pharmacy and the Wyngate, and by Hospice of Huntington. A public memorial to honor her long and storied life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name may be made to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Kentucky Public Broadcasting, or the ADK Doris Miller Scholarship Fund at the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary is handling arrangements.