Martha's Graduation Picture, 1962
Martha Xanten Dunning
  • 69 years old
  • Date of birth: Feb 17, 1944
  • Date of passing: Nov 15, 2013
Let the memory of Martha be with us forever.

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: (  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:

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

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added 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!!!"

This tribute was added 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'."

This tribute was added 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!!"

This tribute was added 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."

This tribute was added 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"

This tribute was added 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"

This tribute was added 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."

This tribute was added 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"

This tribute was added 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 :)"

This tribute was added 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."

This tribute was added 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."

This tribute was added by Carol Borchelt on 19th November 2013

"Martha, my wonderful sister, one of the kindest persons I have ever known… 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!!"

This tribute was added 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."

This tribute was added 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)."

This tribute was added 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"

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This memorial is administered by:

Deborah Grippaudo


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