Let the memory of Martha be with us forever.
  • 69 years old
  • Born on February 17, 1944 .
  • Passed away on November 15, 2013 .

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Martha Elizabeth Xanten Dunning, born on February 17, 1944 in Washington, D.C. and who passed away on November 15, 2013.  We will remember her forever.

The family will be hosting a Celebration of Her Life in the form of an "Irish Wake";  Saturday November 23rd, please contact a family member for details.

A Memorial Service will also be held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase MD, on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:00pm.   See the following link for directions: 

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the World Wildlife Fund: (
https://secure.worldwildlife.org/donations/memorial-donation.aspx).  Those made in honor of Martha will go towards their efforts to save endangered species and protect our environment,  or to The American Cancer Society at: https://donate.cancer.org/index

We know everyone loved and misses Martha. Please feel free to post tributes, pictures, or just your memories of Martha on this site.

Posted by Vera Loftus on 18th February 2019
Still think about your kindness and laughter, xxx
Posted by David Xanten on 15th November 2018
Marc, you are still missed even after five years. I think of you every day and wish you were still with us all. Love You. David
Posted by Deb Grippaudo on 18th February 2018
Still missing you everyday, and wishing you were here. Happy B'Day (Feb 17th) to our favorite Sister, Auntie, Friend...from all of us.
Posted by Carol Borchelt on 17th November 2017
Love scrolling through all the old pictures and remembering the wonderful times we had and many adventures! Your big sister still misses you, Martha, but I know you are in a much better place surrounded by our mom and dad, grandmother and granddad and all the other relatives we grew up with. As we approach the Christmas Holiday Season, I especially miss our growing up years when we all went to grandmother's house to decorate cookies, the 10 ft. tree, and the fabulous Xmas dinner. So glad to leave a tribute to one of the sweetest gals I ever knew. Lots of love, Carol
Posted by David Xanten on 15th November 2017
Seems like only yesterday that you left us. I think about you often and wish you were still here. You must be smiling down on all of us, thinking about what we all have in store for us in our future. Love you
Posted by Carol Borchelt on 17th February 2017
Martha: You are still very much missed by all. You would have loved visiting Ben and me in our home in Florida, especially at this time of the year. However, the essence of you is still with us and the special person you were will always be here in our hearts. You are remembered with great love and affection. Happy Birthday!!!
Posted by Deb Grippaudo on 15th November 2015
Think of you often and miss you as much as ever!. Posted another story to this site as well, in memory of you. From your loving 'little sister'.
Posted by Blair Grippaudo on 15th November 2014
You came to have a laugh with me in a dream last night, miss you so terribly!! Love you to pieces!!
Posted by David Xanten on 15th November 2014
It's been a year and I miss you as much now as then. You are in a far better place and I will see you again.
Posted by Brigit Truex on 21st February 2014
Dawn. Darkness fades leaving the vigilant stars hidden in the light. Remembrances for my oldest, longest-time friend
Posted by Hunter Dunning on 5th December 2013
Martha's story was a grand one. Whether narrated by her, or others, the anecdotes of her life were always something that could bring a smile to the face of those listening. But those stories, even the best of them, were only moments in her life. Pieces of a day Pages in a book. She had 25,474 days to make this world a better place, and every single day, she did. It was the everyday goodness of her that will be missed. There is no one quite like her. There is no one with the patience, the honesty, the stubbornness, and most of all the good will that she had. She had an enviable life. In every chapter of it. She was a Tomboy running around DC with her dog Pal at her side. She got to marry her highschool sweetheart. When that didn't work out she joined the Foreign Service and got to see the world. She never seemed to make a very good wife, but she was an outstanding Mother. Which is where her saintlike patience and understanding were truly proven. She was even a patriot. She was damn good at any job she ever had, she was liked by everyone who knew her and died without an enemy in the world. To quote her "I've lived a good life, and I've lived it with style. I just want my death to be the same." This was a tough lady. One who was always more "one of the guys" Who knew and did what she wanted, and accepted the responsibility for such with an easy pragmatism. This was a woman who loved life, this world, everyone on it, possibly every furry creature as well. This was a woman who didn't want us to mourn her death, but celebrate her life. And while there are no more days and pages to be written in the great volume of her life, her story doesn't end. It's not confined to the covers. Her life, and her love, shaped this world. And those of us touched and effected by her remain so
Posted by Susan B on 23rd November 2013
Martha, you were too smart for all of us. We will miss you and your no-nonsense ways. In your memory, I promise to spend my life not wasting time on nonsense! Help us do good, and we'll work hard to make you proud.
Posted by Patricia Waddell on 22nd November 2013
So many fond memories of times together at Grandmother's....we could always count on fun when the cousins got together! We grieve for Martha's passing, but celebrate her life, and take comfort in knowing she is at peace. Love to you all...Patty
Posted by Lyssa Poole on 21st November 2013
Martha was my aunt By Marriage, and it's hard to find words to describe her. She lived with my family for a time, and I always had the most interesting adventures with her. There was always a smile, or a story to tell, or just the joy in making things up as we went along. She was there by me for some very difficult times, and I have a gift she gave me to this day that is one of my most treasured possessions. I will miss her so very much, and there is not a person on this planet that can replace her. So though she wasn't my "biological" Aunt, She still is and will forever be Family, and my friend. Much love and Light to you Ross, and remember to smile more then being sad, because that is what I think of most when I think of Martha, that she was always wearing a smile :)
Posted by Mary Anne Flannery on 20th November 2013
Sweet Martha, I will always remember your great laugh, love of poker and beating Pete Bachman at arm wrestling. God didn't want you to suffer the torments of cancer, so He took you home a faster way. He wanted you with Him. I will miss you.
Posted by Susan Xanten on 20th November 2013
My heart I broken for this loss. Aunt Martha was the sweetest, most gentle woman. So many wonderful memories of our childhood with her. I thank God you are no longer in pain and at rest.
Posted by Carol Borchelt on 19th November 2013
Martha, my wonderful sister, one of the kindest persons I have ever known…..so glad you were in my life, and I will miss you forever. My heart breaks, but I know you are in a better place….God Bless You and Keep You!!
Posted by Jan Brito on 19th November 2013
Martha was a neighbor who I will remember fondly. Such a sudden loss. My heart goes out to her family and especially her son Ross. May she rest in peace.
Posted by Sondra Benitez on 19th November 2013
Your mom was always really gentle hearted and kind to us as teenagers. I never can recall her having a bad day persay when I got to hang out or visit you. Hugs Ross (Hunter).
Posted by Deborah Grippaudo on 17th November 2013
Martha was the sweetest, kindest-hearted soul I have ever known. Not only a sister, she was my best friend and a mother to me since the loss of our Mom in 1976. A second mom to my 3 children the most loving mother to her son Ross. Our family has lost its best and brightest sibling. Resting in peace now with her dogs Pal & Tammy - I will miss her forever... Love you Mark

Leave a Tribute