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Martha Jane Asbury

June 11, 1940 November 2, 2019
Martha Jane Asbury
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Obituary for Martha Jane Asbury

Martha June Asbury of Lewisburg died early in the morning of November 2, 2019, of complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Martha lived in Lewisburg since 1978, but grew up in Rift, West Virginia, daughter of the late William Charles Asbury and Kathryn P. Rowe Asbury, who both had long family ties to McDowell County, West Virginia and Tazewell County, Virginia. As a teen she was also close with her grandmother, Pattie Mae Harrison Beavers Rowe, who lived on Sinking Creek Road in Greenbrier County, and numerous her aunts and uncles including Joe, Carr, Jessie, Corbett, Bob, and Inez.

After graduating from Big Creek High School in War, West Virginia, Martha moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked for the Navy Department and met her future husband, Roger Wutzke of Vinton, Iowa. They were married in March, 1960, at Andrews Air Force Base, and soon after moved to Vinton, where she worked as a secretary at Wilson’s Meat Packing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. After the birth of their son Jeffrey Wutzke in 1966, the family moved to Park Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and then in 1972 moved to Albert Lea, Minnesota, where she worked as a secretary at Zion Lutheran Church.

In 1978, Martha and her son moved back to West Virginia, where she worked at WVSOM for several years. Later she worked as an assistant to artists Robert and June Anderson, a secretary to attorney John Bobbitt, and then as an assistant to playwright and director Maryat Lee at Ecotheater in Lewisburg. After Ms. Lee’s death, Martha took over running Ecotheater, organizing performances across southeastern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia, including at Pipestem State Park, and writing plays that were performed by the company, including “Ole Miss Daisy” and “The Last Picture Show in White Sulphur Springs”. Prior to retirement, she also served as a docent at the historic golf course Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs.

In her spare time she enjoyed square dancing and clogging, embroidery, genealogy and family history, and reading. Over the years she authored many published poems, as well as numerous letters to the editor and op-ed pieces defending the beauty of West Virginia and arguing for preservation of the mountains she so loved in response to mountaintop removal. She also travelled extensively, including trips to New England, California, Arizona, Florida, and a 2004 trip to London and Ireland.

During the last two years she resided at the Greenbrier Health Care Center in Fairlea, due to rapidly advancing Parkinson’s disease.

Martha is survived by her son, Jeffrey Wutzke in San Francisco, California; her partner, Glenn McKinney of Lewisburg; brothers Charles, Dexter, Jerry, and Albert; sisters-in-law Betty Joe, Charlene, Dusti, Kay, and Carolyn, and eighteen nieces and nephews. Three other brothers, Joe, Grant, and Roger, predeceased her.

A memorial service will be held on April 25, 2020. Donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation, www.parkinson.org, are welcome.


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