Martha Anne (Wise) Craft (79), formerly of Athol Road, Phillipston, MA, died peacefully from COVID-19 on February 13, 2021, in hospice care at Athol Hospital. In life, she joyfully and passionately shared the love of Jesus Christ in all her endeavors. As a musician, teacher, missionary, social worker, friend, wife, daughter, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother, she touched countless lives with compassion, prayer and insight about God’s love for us.
Born on August 23, 1941 in Gardner, MA, she was the daughter of Kenneth Wise and Arline (Guilmette) Wise and sister to the late Peter Wise and his wife Carmen of Henderson, NV, Captain Stephen Wise and his late wife Judy of Kent, WA, the late David Wise of Grass Valley, CA, and Karen Bushee and husband Louis Bushee of Southington, CT.
Martha was the valedictorian of the Class of 1959 at Athol High School. She earned a degree in music from Brown University, blessing others for the rest of her life through singing and piano playing, including as a music teacher and an organist and choir director at the Phillipston Congregational Church. Martha earned a masters degree in social work from Boston College and embarked on a twenty year career providing care and counsel to the homeless, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, prisoners, veterans and the elderly. As a social worker, Martha’s places of work included The Lipton Center (Gardner, MA), North Central Correctional Institute (Worcester, MA), Worcester State Hospital, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Central Office (Boston, MA) and Northampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She embodied compassion, forgiveness, intellect, curiosity, acceptance and courage. She saw the good in everyone.
Martha was devoted to her beloved husband, Peter William Craft (1941-1989). They married in 1962 and focused their lives on family and Christian ministry. For several years they worked together at the Fernald School for the developmentally disabled, later named the Templeton Developmental Center, where they jointly led a choir and Christian service for residents there. Martha’s children recall many joyful moments hearing the music of this choir, experiencing the kindness of choir members and observing their parents pouring love and fellowship into this community. After Peter’s passing, Martha remarried to the late Richard Chattin, and had many happy years together.
Martha always said her proudest accomplishment and most meaningful experience was as a wife and mother raising her four boys. Martha is survived by her sons Justin and wife Leigh (Putnam) Craft (Phillipston, MA), Jim and wife Amy (Lashua) Craft (Sutton, MA), Noah Craft and wife Belinda Tan (Venice, CA) and Philip and wife Betsy (McKibbon) Craft (Greensboro, NC), as well as grandchildren Tyler and wife Gabrielle (Ibarrola), Jamison, Carter, Noah, Sophia, Peter, William, Buna, and great granddaughter Ellie.
Due to COVID-19, a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Donations in honor of Martha may be made to the Gardner Community Action Committee.
In honor of their mother, her children offer this scripture:
From the Poem on the Woman of Worth
Proverbs Chapter 31, Verses 20-21 and 25-31
She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.
Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home, 343 Central Street, Winchendon is directing arrangements.