Martha M Dendinger
(1928 - 2012)

Martha M Dendinger

Colorado, United States of America
June 14, 1928

Colorado, United States of America
March 1, 2012

Martha Marion Dendinger was born on June 14, 1928 and passed away on March 1, 2012. She was born in Denver, Colorado and was the daughter of Ellen Augusta Hay and William Francis Cambers. She had 2 brothers, Bill and Walt, a sister Wilma and two half-sisters Helen and Frances who all preceded her in death.

Martha is survived by her loving family. Son Stephen Dendinger and wife Cindy, daughter Karen Morgan and husband Bernnie; daughter Cheryl Erickson and husband Larry; daughter Debra Phelps. Grandchildren Kim Weatherwax and husband Stuart; Jaime McDaniel and her husband Chris; David Morgan and his wife Lori; Kelli Morgan; Kristin Hulinsky and husband Mike; Andrew Dendinger and Lizzy Dendinger. Her grandson Brian Phelps passed away in August 2001. She had 4 great grandchildren, Ethan, Sydney and Ryan Weatherwax; and Maverick Morgan.

Martha survived her soul mate and husband, Melvin Eugene Dendinger who passed away on December 20th, 1991. They were married on October 7th 1947 and had 44 wonderful years together.

During their marriage, they enjoyed dancing, golfing, traveling and going to Bronco games together. They loved to dress up and go dancing at the Elitch Gardens Trocodero Ballroom with friends and family. They also cut a rug or two at the VFW and Elk’s lodges. They were passionate about golf and were able to play in many different places from Hilton Head SC to Hawaii and several places in between. They belonged to the men’s and women’s clubs at the Foothills Golf Course and were very excited when their grandchildren showed an interest in playing. They would both be thrilled to know that their great grandchildren are taking lessons and enjoy the game as well.

Martha and Mel were both avid (if not rabid) Bronco fans. They purchased season tickets (which really was a big deal for them back then) in the early 1960’s and originally sat in the infamous South Stands. Years later, they moved their seats to the north stands along with their best friends, Bill and Pat Coyle. They were such fans that any new “in-law” felt obligated to become a Bronco fan if they were not already. They were able to attend the Super Bowl XXI game in Pasadena in 1987. Their tickets have been passed down to their daughter and that legacy of Bronco loyalty remains today.

Although Martha and Mel were not able to do a lot of traveling, they certainly enjoyed some fun trips after their kids were grown. They went to Hilton Head SC for a golfing vacation on their 40th anniversary. They traveled to Mexico and Hawaii with friends and took road trips to the Grand Canyon, Canada and the Pacific Northwest with Bill and Pat. They visited family in Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico. They even took up skiing.

Martha took great care of Mel when he got sick and they became even closer in that time. She never stopped missing him after he died and in her mind, he became Saint Mel who could do anything and also could do no wrong. Bless her heart.

Martha worked at Montgomery Ward before she got married. After having kids, she took in ironing and did day care for several years for 3 great kids, Debbie, Jerry and Stevie Weiderspahn. After moving to Green Mountain in 1963, she was hired by Jefferson County schools as a “lunch lady” and worked at Green Mountain elementary school, right across the street from her house. She later went to work at May D&F in the furniture department and worked there until her youngest daughter got married.

Martha was nothing if not stubbornly independent. She never owned a dishwasher, really!!!! In the winter, she shoveled her walks and driveway (albeit often with a snow blower) as well as her neighbors until she was about 80 years old. We had to beg her not to get out a ladder and climb on to her roof to clean her gutters. The most extreme example of her independence was after cancer surgery to remove a kidney. She was equipped with a catheter and bag strapped to her leg for a couple of weeks when she came home from the hospital. We went over to check on her and caught her outside mowing her lawn, really!!!!

Martha loved gardening. She had beautiful gardens all around her yard and spent hours and hours maintaining them and keeping them lovely. She had gorgeous vases of cut flowers in her home all summer long. I can still remember the smell of those flowers. She passed down her love of gardening to her kids.

Martha’s greatest love was her family. She loved children and probably would have had a dozen if Mel would have obliged. Holidays were special and so much fun. Easter consisted of individual Easter baskets for every child (no matter how big the family got). She dyed Easter eggs for an army and hid them throughout the house or yard for the annual hunt. In later years, she created Easter games for all to participate in and it always included a prize for at least the first three places.

Halloween was a favorite of hers. She made all of the costumes for her kids growing up ranging from a “purple people eater” to a walking television set. You could always count on finding a stray body part sticking out from under the couch or Martha in some scary costume. One Halloween, she even dressed up and climbed on to the roof (Mel was part of this BTW) to try to scare the grandkids when they got to her house to trick or treat. She succeeded in scaring the grandkids but scared the crap out of her kids as they were afraid of her falling off the roof, really!!!!!!

Thanksgiving was always at Martha’s house. The house smelled so good when you walked in and tasted even better. The celebrations were all about family and no one ever left hungry. Although Thanksgiving is no longer held at Martha’s house, we all still get together for the annual feast and it is still all about family.

Christmas was filled with so much tradition. It changed slightly over the years as the family grew larger and larger but the important things never changed. Martha started with a small understated Christmas village under the tree. Over the years it grew to thriving metropolis that took up half the living room. It even consisted of Plastic Ville so the little ones could play without getting in trouble with their parents. Her children and most grandchildren have adopted this tradition in their own homes.
Another tradition was the annual Christmas Show. She transformed her grandchildren into a fine troupe of entertainers every Christmas. She produced, directed, made costumes, did the set decoration, choreographed and wrote everything from plays to travel documentaries and musicals, all for the entertainment of their parents. These extravaganzas were complete with tickets and programs. They were rehearsed in secret (not that big of a secret) for months prior to opening night. It was such a labor of love for her and those memories will be with us all forever.

Martha’s grandchildren and great grandchildren were everything to her. She loved them unconditionally. She taught them songs, how to tell time and how to tie their shoes. She even potty trained some of them. She was involved in all aspects of their lives and they all loved being with her. They enjoyed going to the movies, trips to the zoo and the children’s museum, shopping trips, and sleep overs both collectively and individually. She made them all feel special. They were so blessed to be able to have a grandparent that was so close and such an important part of their lives.

The last 3 years of Martha’s life were not the easiest for her or her family. She suffered with Alzheimer’s and cancer. The cancer took her life and the Alzheimer’s took her memory. One thing we learned through all of it was to find the positive and the humor whenever you can. Believe me, sometimes that was a struggle but honestly, we all got to know her on a different level and that was truly an honor. We tried so hard to try to take care of Martha in her home because that is where she wanted to be. With that came many challenges. There were daily meals and pills, getting her out of bed, showering, trips to the doctor and Cindy and Larry attempting daily trips to the hospital for her radiation treatments. We actually had most of it down to a science with meal calendars and appointment schedules etc.

As the Alzheimer’s progressed, it became apparent we needed a little help. We attempted to bring in care givers for just a couple of hours a day to give us a break. Martha eventually depleted the entire work force of 2 different companies. You see, she did not like strangers in her home. She became very territorial and at times quite combative. We were called on a regular basis to rescue the workers because she was going to kick their asses, really!!!!!!! After several family meetings and literally running out of care givers, we finally knew doing this alone was no longer an option.

Karen found a wonderful place called MorningStar. We all toured the facility and the decision was made to move Martha in. We decorated her new room and surrounded her with memories of her family on the walls with the intent of making the transition easier for her. We were dreading the actual move in day convinced she wouldn’t like it and had become such a pill that they would kick her out, really!!!! Let me tell you, God has truly guided us every step of the way on this journey. We armed ourselves with the great grandchildren (the wee ones as she liked to refer to them) as bait and introduced her to her new home. She was a little confused but seemed to accept it pretty much. It didn’t hurt to have the wee ones. Ethan never left her side and they took her by the hand and showed her around the place. We crossed our fingers and left her a few at a time. She made the transition in short order with very little resistance. Almost overnight, she became the life of the party there and everyone loved her, both the residents and the care givers, really!!!!!! She sang karaoke, danced (including some bump and grind, LOL) and ate more in the first week than she had eaten in the last month. She was thriving. Martha was only there for six months but it was so good for her and for us. We were able to really enjoy being with her and she was truly happy. We will be forever grateful for that.

Martha passed away peacefully surrounded by her family. We loved her so much and will miss her tremendously but we also know she is in a better place and is with those she loved that went before her.

We love you mom and know that you adore us, really!!!!!!

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Guest Book (8 entries)
We wanted to say Happy Birthday and that we love you and miss you more than you can imagine. We went to see you yesterday and had another "gift" or sign of you watching us. The kids sang 'Happy Birthday' to you in the morning and I felt you with me all day long. It is hard not having you here, but you are with us always. Happy Birthday and we love you more!
Kim, Stuart, and the Wee Ones (Ethan, Sydney, and RyRy)
Kim Weatherwax (Granddaughter)
June 15th, 2012
It was a wonderful tribute at her memorial service and the number of wonderful things said about Martha by her friends, children, grand children and Great Grand children. I was so pleased to be a part of it.

Aunt Martha had a big roll in raising me. From the time I was three (we returned to Denver from Clayton NM) until I went to Kindergarten, I was at her house playing with Karen and Cheryl every weekday. That's when Child care was very personal. Aunt Martha always was so much fun and let us play crazy our of our minds. Frankly she played with us too and fixed so much food for all of us and kept us safe always.

Like my Older Brother Gary said, the most special times were the holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas when we always had huge family get togethers.

It was a special time...I remember so many moments of playfulness by Martha, whether it was teasing us, chasing us around or nurturing us...she was always so spirited! When she got her tattoo we all thought she was cool and a little wacky, but she was soooo pleased! It made me happy. So many great moments, so many hugs and she always knew that I loved her completely! I will always keep her alive in my mind and her love in my heart.

So Long My Dear Aunt Martha!
Tim Mullennix (Nephew)
March 21st, 2012
What a wonderful recounting of the memories! I was 7 when she was married to Mel and remembered the reception (we didn't get to go to the wedding in those days). She was a beautiful bride and was very nice to we kids. She was in a beautiful white dress and had a big smile and had red lips! And, lots of laughter. I never forgot it.

My Mom really loved Mel and Martha and gave my second brother the same middle name, Eugene. They bowled, went to Bronco games and we had many, many Thanksgivings together along with others in the Dendinger clan.

That generation were so independent they took no help and wanted only to live on their terms. they were willing to help anyone and would in fact give you the shirt off their back. But, they didn't want anyone taking care of them or making decisions for them. We could all be more self reliant in their honor.

Aunt Martha and the whole clan will be missed. They loved us all and all our kids. I'm very happy I got to be her nephew and had all those great cousins. Love, Gary
Gary Mullennix (NEPHEW)
March 18th, 2012
What a beautiful tribute to Marthy. Many of the stories I heard today, sharing the time with all of you at the services and the reception afterward. Reading through it here, gave me time to reflect, and shed some tears,really!!!! Sadness that she is not in our everyday lives, but knowing that she is with many others we love so much-until we meet again...Love, Sue
Sue Elliott (God-daughter)
March 16th, 2012
Karen & Family,

So sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of your Mom & our Girl Scout years. My thought's & prayers are with you at this time. I wish you all God's peace.
Carolyn Emmot (Frey) (Friend)
March 16th, 2012
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"Sending love and prayers to a wonderful family who I know will find joy among the sorrow of losing its matriarch. She is in a better place in good company-this we know!"
Kristi Coffman-Carter
March 14th, 2012


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