Martha L. DeVries

Martha L. DeVries

Martha L. DeVries, age 94, died in Oak Harbor on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. She was born in Dalhart, Texas, on Feb. 22, 1921, to Sherman E. and Marietta Legg Porter. In her later years, Martha was always surprised at how old she had become, especially after being told by her mother how she could fit in a shoebox at birth!

In 1935, the Porter family left their once prosperous ranch in Dalhart because of the ravages of the Dust Bowl. They moved to Oak Harbor and Martha attended and graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1939.

She met her future husband, Carroll DeVries, in high school and they married on March 1, 1941. Martha worked tirelessly as a busy farm wife, mother and caretaker of her aging in-laws. She loved knitting, crocheting and sewing and patiently taught many people those skills.

For over 50 years, Martha belonged to a women’s group who played pinochle once a month, and she bowled in a league for almost that many years. She was also active in one of the island’s hospital guilds that worked toward the realization of Whidbey General Hospital.

Martha began working for Oak Harbor Public Schools in 1959 in kitchen services and retired in 1976 as head cook at Oak Harbor Junior High. Chili and wheat rolls were her specialties. For many summers she recruited and supervised students who wanted to work in the strawberry fields in Skagit Valley.

She will be remembered for her sense of humor and fun, and for her open door and kitchen table, where everyone was made to feel welcome and important.

Martha is survived by her three children, Darrel (Kathy) DeVries, Bonnie Nelson, and Vicky Reierson. She is much loved and appreciated by her six grandchildren, Kelly (Pat) Peterson, Jay (Karla) DeVries, Noel Nelson and Matt, Joe and Ben Reierson. Martha was also lucky to be able to enjoy her three great-granddaughters and three great-grandsons. Two sisters, Marge Admiral and Betty Jo Viaene (Babe), and sister-in-law Betty Porter also survive. Martha was preceded in death by her husband, Carroll, in 1977.

She is also pre-deceased by her parents; one sister Mary McMinn (Ed); two brothers, Marvin Porter (Loretta) and Percy Porter; brother-in-law Art Admiral; and son-in-law Mike Nelson.

The family wishes to thank Summerhill Assisted Living for their ten years of dedicated care and Fairhaven Adult Family Home, especially Kelly Hampton, Martha’s great-niece, for helping Martha so lovingly to her final destination.

At Martha’s request there will be no funeral services held. Memorials may be made to a favorite charity or organization.

Arrangements were entrusted to Wallin Funeral Home. To leave condolences or share memories, visit Martha’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website at

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