Martha Menke Underwood, Claremont Artist, November 28, 1934 - February 15, 2012.
Martha Underwood died of cancer in her Claremont home on Wednesday, February 15th. She passed away peacefully in the presence of family and loved ones. She will forever be remembered by her daughter Leslie Ossentjuk, son Stephen Underwood, son-in-law David Ossentjuk, two grandchildren; Matthew and Robin Ossentjuk, and loving partner Tom O’Loughlin who rejoined her after long years. Martha will also remain in the hearts of her half-brother Robert Menke, half-sister Shari Hart, stepsister Lynn Rizo, and countless friends whom were blessed to know her.
Martha was born in Quincy, Illinois, a city that thrived under the civic, industrial, and commercial leadership of her great, great grandfather. Martha lived in many places as the daughter of a Navy Attaché, Norman Menke. Some of the places she knew as home included Florida, New Mexico, New York, and South America. Her childhood travels shaped and influenced her. Martha enjoyed traveling, and at times, bicycling in many worldwide destinations throughout the majority of her life. Daughter of a painter, Ruth Wells Menke, Martha pursued fine art from an early age. Studying at Scripps College, Otis Art Institute, and Claremont Graduate School was an important part of her vocational journey. Though Martha Underwood is well known for her watercolor paintings, her expertise over the years included oil painting, mosaic, fiber arts, illustration, and interior design rendering. A number of her works received prestigious awards and publications. As an art teacher, Martha instructed others at several institutions. Her teaching career culminated at Chaffey College where she was an art professor for over 20 years. Martha remained involved with the art community by filling Board positions on several art associations, judging art shows, and exhibiting her own work throughout Southern California. She had a wonderful soul and was a positive person. Her artwork will remind loved ones and admirers of her long and eventful life.
Friends and family are invited to celebrate Ms. Underwood’s life at an informal gathering at the Padua Hills Theater on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. The theater is located at 4467 Padua Ave., Claremont.
Memorial donations may be made to Scripps College in support of Seal Pond Mosaic or to Claremont Museum