Lydia Mary Martin was born November 14, 1946, and spent the first two years of her life in a foundling home and was later adopted by William and Mabel Martin. She was raised in Brooklyn and Bronx, NY with her sister, and best friend, Eileen Joiner, along with her brothers Albert Widor, and Joey Martin.
She met the love of her life, Ron, in 1965. A blue-eyed, dreamy Airman, raising three young children on his own. This won her heart over, and they married shortly after their first meeting. Lydia embraced wholeheartedly the role of wife and mother. Together, Ron, Lydia and children travelled the country in the Air Force. Lydia’s favorite place to be stationed was Tarague Beach, Yido Guam, because of the white sands, beautiful coral reefs and shells she could collect. During their time in the service Ron spent five remote tours away from his family and Lydia “held down the fort” with their children. She ran a tight ship, keeping everything in order. Her children learned how to make a bed with tight, military corners, and would proudly show a quarter bounce. They would still be travelling East, West, North, and South had Ron not retired after serving 21 years; settling down in the Big Sky Country of Montana.
Lydia loved her children and grandchildren with all her heart and wanted to be surrounded by children her entire life. Children – Ronald Stewart Jr., (Kate), Traverse City, MI, Mary Roxbury, Houston TX, Lori Schroeder, (Shawn), Helena, MT, Dorothy Stewart, Kalispell, MT, Skye Stewart, Helena, MT, and Brandon Stewart, Helena, MT. Grandchildren – Chris Meek, Niki Roxbury, Grayson and Shay Schroeder, and Isabella & Benjamin Meyers. Ron and Lydia were foster parents and guardians for over 40 years and adopted two of their foster children, Brandon, and Skye. They were proud to have been selected as Montana’s Foster Parents of the Year and went on to focus on the care of special needs children for the last 25 years of fostering.
Besides raising her family, Lydia held many jobs in between all the moves required as a military family. She was best known for being a wonderful short order cook, donut maker for Dunkin Donuts, CNA, hairdresser, and her favorite was being a para-professional working with special needs children at Evergreen Elementary School.
Lydia was such a loving, generous, amazingly tough spitfire, full of life and entered a room like no other. You knew she was present. She spent many years battling non-alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver, lupus, polio and of recent Alzheimer’s. However, that didn’t slow her down. A 4’8”, Feisty Pistol, Lydia had a love for driving big trucks and often carried step stools to climb into them. I’m sure all in Helena, including buildings and curbs, knew Nana was on the road! She also had a passion for collecting diamond rings, fiestaware, precious moments, dolls… you know the ones that their eyes would follow you…well anything collectible she didn’t want to miss out on. We’re positive she created and belonged to the truck of the month club. Lydia was well known for her craftiness and had an entire room filled with scrapbooking and quilling. She would spend hours working on one tiny, beautifully twined quill flower that would be used for handcrafted cards and pictures.
We would like to send a sincere thank you to Lydia’s medical team as St. Pete’s Hospital – Leslie Wilson and Robert McVie – who provided care with such dignity and compassion. We are very grateful to St. Peter’s Health Hospice team that provided our family with compassion and guidance through this experience. This care allowed Lydia to be comforted in her home surrounded by her loving family.
Lydia is preceded in death by William and Mabel Martin, Eileen Joiner, Albert Widor, Brandon Stewart.
A Viewing will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. A graveside services will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison.