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Published: Sunday, 9/16/2012

Gloria Martin, 1926-2012: Longtime nurse twice visited Vatican,  Rome

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Gloria Martin, a registered nurse who was a caregiver off duty and while on the hospital medical-surgical units where she made her career, died Thursday in Mercy St. Anne Hospital. She was 86.

Kidney and heart failure were among her health problems in recent years, her daughter Paula said. Still, she lived on her own in a senior independent living complex.

"She was very much a fighter," her daughter said.

Mrs. Martin, formerly of Point Place, retired in 1990 after about five years as a private duty nurse, caring for patients in their homes.

She retired in 1985 from the former Riverside Hospital, her employer for much of her career. 

She had remained in the thick of patient care on the hospital's medical-surgical floors and lamented that charting and other paperwork required of registered nurses kept her too often at a desk.

"She wanted to be with the patients," her daughter said.

She was born Sept. 6, 1926, to Laura and Steve Kulczynski and grew up on Detroit Avenue across from the former St. Stanislaus Church. She was a graduate of Libbey High School.

"She has always been a caregiver," her daughter said. 

"Interestingly, she probably should have gone to medical school," her daughter said, "because she was brilliant. She wanted to be a mortician, but her family talked her out of it, so she went into nursing."

She was a 1948 graduate of the Mercy Hospital nursing school.

"She just really liked helping people," said her daughter Maria Cater, who became a licensed practical nurse. "She was a natural caregiver type of person."

Her daughter Paula said: "It's what brought her the most happiness."

Mrs. Martin cared for her father when he became ill. She later took an uncle and her mother into her family's Point Place home.

Her faith did not waver, even as her health declined.

"She was a devout Catholic. That's just where she got her strength," daughter Paula said. "I had many conversations with [her]. She was not afraid to die. She was looking forward to what comes next."

She went to Vatican City and Rome twice — with a church group and with her daughter Paula.

She enjoyed visits to Cedar Point with family when her daughters were growing up, not for the rides  — certainly not the coasters  — but for the atmosphere.

"She loved the smells and the sounds and loved to see us run around," daughter Paula said. "She was a little spitfire, she really was. She had a very quick sense of humor, quick comebacks.

"She certainly left her mark in the world."

She and her husband, Gordon, married Sept. 8, 1951. He died May 13, 1993.

She was a former member of St. John the Baptist Church.

Surviving are her daughters, Paula Siefert and Maria Cater; brother, Bob Kent; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. today in Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, with a Scripture service at 7 p.m. in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Christ the King Church, where she was a member.

The family suggests tributes to a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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