OBITUARY: Martha Lou Davis Aug. 20, 1953 – Oct. 8, 2014

MARTHA LOU DAVIS Aug. 20, 1953 Oct. 8, 2014

Martha Lou Davis was a relative newcomer to Los Alamos, but quickly adapted her gardening style to the Southwest, practicing xeriscaping and permaculture. On a small number of fruit trees in her backyard she grafted over 100 fruit varieties including apples, pears, and apricots. It’s been said that her yard is one of the most fertile parts of Los Alamos.

Martha was born on August 20, 1953 in Dallas, OR to Crystalle and Paul Davis. The family moved to Corvallis, OR where she completed high school. After a year at Earlham College, she returned to the University of Oregon and got a degree in biology. After working  for the Forest Service in Central Oregon she earned a PhD in biology at the University of Colorado. She worked as a postdoc at Ohio University before accepting a position at the University of Michigan – Flint. In 1987 she married Jonathan Thron, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory. She moved to the Chicago area and after teaching briefly at Northwestern University, she focussed her attention on horticulture: both educating and creating. In 2005 they moved to Los Alamos, when Jonathan took a job at the lab.

Throughout her life she was deeply involved with Quakers. She was known by friends and family for her incredible breadth of knowledge, which she shared generously. Her keen sense of beauty found expression in photography and ceramics. Martha loved the outdoors whether it was at the coast, at the top of a mountain, or at the top of a tree.

Martha was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and used her research background to evaluate and understand treatment options. She embraced alternatives as long as they had a scientific basis. Until her death on October 8th, 2014 she was steadfast in her own care and connecting with her friends. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, and survived by her husband, Jonathan, and her sister, Joy Ragsdale, as well as a large extended family.

A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Santa Fe on Saturday, November 1st at 2:00 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Association of University Women or a charity of your choice you feel reflects Martha.