On November 15, Martha Kukis died peacefully in her bed, to be reunited at long last with her beloved husband Howard.
Martha Joyce Jensen was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1926. As her family navigated the Depression, she and her siblings were uprooted and separated often in early life. Still, by all accounts, Martha was a wellspring of positivity, vitality, confidence, and kindness from the start. Her family settled in Berkeley during World War II, and after the war she married Howard Kukis, who had served in the Navy. Howard built their home near Sacramento. They raised four boys and lived near relatives, so holidays were always feasts overflowing with pies, cousins, noise, and love. Martha was an excellent cook, seamstress, and homemaker, and Howard loved to fish, hunt, and dive for abalone. He could build anything, and he was a talented artist. They shared a deep sense of spirituality, a love for family, camping, and golf, and they adored each other. After 30 idyllic years of marriage, Howard passed in 1977 from lymphoma.
Though she missed Howard for the rest of her life, Martha's positive and adventurous spirit lit her path. She traveled extensively, to the UK and Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, even the (then) USSR. She started a thriving bookkeeping service of which she was very proud, with her friend Betty. As an actively involved grandmother, she was a blessing to her sons, daughters in law, and grandchildren. She had countless friends who loved her even though she throttled them regularly at bridge and Scrabble.
Martha was predeceased by her siblings Toddy, Buddy, Betty, and Don, and is survived by her beloved brother Bill and numerous nieces and nephews. Martha is survived by sons (and daughters in law) Gary, Peter (Karen), Dave (Jen), and John. She was predeceased by granddaughter Robin, and is survived by Kelley, Corey, Kristen, Andy, Will, Molly, Michael, and Marissa. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. She is survived by her dear friends Sue, Betty, and Lynette, and many others. Martha's family is grateful to Judy for her extraordinary care and love in Martha's last months.
A celebration of Martha's life will be held at the Lakeview Village Clubhouse, 6211 Summerset Lane, Citrus Heights, Saturday, November 27, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, Martha had requested that memorial donations be made to PBS.