Martha Miriam Hurd Davenport.
Born in 1929, Martha was raised on Maple Street in Shelburne Falls, the daughter of Harry Lorenzo and Gertrude (Lewis) Hurd. While she attended high school down the street at Arms Academy, a dashing young classmate who lived on the other side of Mt. Massaemet would leave his skis on her front porch each winter morning, and then use them to get back home after school each afternoon. That young man was Russell Maurice Davenport, and they would marry on October 18, 1952.
After high school, Martha earned an associate’s degree in fashion merchandizing from Lasell College, and worked for a time in Boston while Russ attended the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. When they were ready to settle down, they moved into one half of the big farmhouse they shared with Russ’s parents, Maurice and Marguerite Davenport.
Being a wife and mother were Martha’s work, along with caring for the larger community of Shelburne. She pickled and canned and froze whatever was ripe, assembling racks of sealed mason jars in the farmhouse cellar. When a banker came to make a requisite visit before approving a loan, he took one look at the array of jars and commented that he didn’t need to look any further; the stockpile was testament to their dependability.
Along with keeping a stocked pantry, Martha sewed and knitted for her growing family, and took great pride in winning ribbons for the handiwork she entered in the Shelburne Grange Fair. Each child, spouse, grandchild, and greatgrandchild (and many friends) received a custom handknit Christmas stocking that included the recipient’s name.
Over the years, her children moved around a bit and one of Martha’s greatest joys was when as many family members as possible could come together for a big event. Daughter Marjorie now lives with her husband Michael McLester in Suwanee, Georgia, with their son Rusty nearby. Christine lives in Manhattan, with daughters Zana in Queens and Roxanne in Manchester, CT. Barbara lives on the farm with her husband Eric Goodchild, and was the attentive caretaker for both Martha and Russ in their later years. Their son Ian lives in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and daughter Anna lives in Taunton, MA with her husband David Kopcych and daughters Amelia and Eva. Norman and his wife Lisa now own the family farm, including the Davenport Maple Farm Restaurant. Their children are Daina, married to Michael Olson; Maegan, married to Nate Senser, with children Connor, Mason, and Zoey; Fred, married to Jessica and living on the farm; and Brian, who also lives on the farm. Abe lives with his wife Linda on their own farm in Montague. That’s a lot of chairs to put around the table, and Martha relished the excitement and the storytelling and games that could go on for hours.
Martha was eager to travel and attended the annual conferences of the North American Maple Producers Association with Russ, including trips to Canada. Together they also traveled on agricultural “People to People” tours to visit Poland, Romania, and China. When their children became more independent, they enjoyed annual trips to Martha’s Vineyard. Martha delighted in any opportunity to eat shrimp while Russ savored lobster.
Martha felt a strong commitment to her extended community and always wanted to contribute. She was a deaconess for the First Congregational Church, sang in the church choir, participated in the Women’s Fellowship, was a member of the Ladies Aid and the Shelburne Grange, and was a volunteer for the Shelburne Senior Center and the American Red Cross, for whom she baked hundreds of cookies for their blood drives.
Sadly, Russ predeceased Martha in April of this year, after years of declining health. Then the ravages of age caught up with Martha, too, and she quietly passed on August 19. Beginning as high school sweethearts, they were together for over 70 years. Now they are together again, resting peacefully and knowing their families think of them often.
Smith Kelleher Funeral Home in Shelburne Falls, MA is assisting the family with arrangements. Private graveside services will be held August 30, 2020 for Russell and Martha. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: 1st Congregational Church of Shelburne, 21 Common Road, Shelburne, MA 01370, memo note: Martha Davenport Memorial kitchen renovation. Sympathy notes may be sent to: The Davenport Family, 111 Tower Road, Shelburne, MA 01370, or left on the Smith Kelleher Funeral Home’s obituary page for Martha Davenport.
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