Martha Coltvet

Obituary of Martha Ellen Coltvet

Martha Ellen (Russell) Coltvet ,78, Duluth, Minn., formerly Lincoln, Neb., left this life in the peace and comfort of home with her daughters on Oct. 21, 2022, after a 20-month struggle with cancer.

Martha was born Jan. 29, 1944. in Sussex, Wis., to the Rev. Curt and Betty (Samuels) Russell. She grew up in Clarion, Iowa, and married her high school sweetheart, Chuck Coltvet. They were blessed with three amazing daughters, Lesli, Amy and Carrie.

Martha lived a full and eclectic life. Following the end of her marriage, a young Martha embarked with her daughters on a journey and career of service to others that took her to Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. She worked mostly in service to Native American communities and then received her Master of Divinity degree from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. For the last 20 years Martha served in various roles as an ordained Presbyterian minister while continuing her service to Native Americans. She delivered her unique and inspiring sermons in both Presbyterian and Native Churches, taught classes on interreligious beliefs, and facilitated healing groups for victims of sexual and domestic violence. Martha was highly spiritual, engaging, and wise, and people from all walks and religions turned to her for healing and self-empowerment. She defined herself as being “quite liberal in religion and politics.” Her calling to serve others was her passion and gift.

 We remember Martha for her strong, reassuring hugs, the twinkle in her eye, the dulcet tone of her voice, her spontaneous robust laugh, and the “everything will be OK” comfort she gave us.

Martha lives on through her daughters, Lesli Hopeman (Deb Hernandez), Amy Coltvet-Watkins, Carrie Coltvet, her grandchildren, Joshua Hopeman (Michaela Newman), Marcus Snyder, Joseph Watkins, Eliana Watkins (Max Wesely), and great grandchildren, Dexter Hopeman and Ollie Wesely, plus the extended family of loved ones she graced throughout her journey. She was preceded by her parents and her brother, Jim Russell.

Services will be Friday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Duluth with Rev. Kari Jutila officiating. Livestream at 

A Celebration of Life will also be held in Lincoln, Nebraska at a later date. Condolences may be sent c/o Amy Coltvet-Watkins, 331 Owatonna Street, Duluth MN 55803.

“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.” — Elizabeth Edwards

A Memorial Tree was planted for Martha
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Duluth
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