December 30, 1932 – April 19, 2021
Martha Ann Zuch Bengtson went to her heavenly home at 12:45 p.m. on April 19, 2021, with her children, Gayle and Kyle, by her side. She was born in Austin, TX on December 20, 1932, to Helmuth Zuch and Bertha Duesterhoeft Zuch. She attended Robert E. Lee Elementary, University Junior High, and graduated from Austin High School. She was the 1950 queen and a class favorite at Austin High, and a member of multiple school organizations. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated from the University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1954. She enjoyed her years teaching pre-school and was adored by her students and their families.
On December 27, 1953, she married the love of her life, Harry, also of Austin. They were married for 62 years and were blessed with 2 children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. Harry and Martha enjoyed sharing their lives together in many ways. They were avid UT and family sports fans, loved to dance, travel, sing in the church choir, and socialize with their many friends. She lived to be with her grandchildren, and helped raise them and supported them in all their activities over the years.
Martha was very active in the community, and viewed her volunteer opportunities as a ministry. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Assistance League Thrift Shop and served as the first manager of the store, enjoying the friendships and service that the Assistance League of Austin provided. She then became active in the Settlement Club of Austin, working in the Clothing Department and on cottage committees, serving the young girls who benefitted from the work of the Settlement Club. She was well-loved and respected by all who worked with her – her smile and sense of humor made long, hot hours of work sorting clothes more bearable for all her friends in the Clothing Department. Her organizational skills and calm demeanor were a benefit during the Garage Sale – over the years she became friends with customers from around the country.
Martha had a strong faith, and enjoyed attending and serving at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church. She and her husband Harry were Stephens Ministers, and she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and served on numerous committees during her 88 years of membership at St. Martin’s.
Martha loved people, and had many lifelong friendships. She enjoyed yearly outings with 3 friends from elementary school and shared many hours of fun and laughter with them. She was the last survivor of the “Sip ‘n Sews” – a group of beloved friends from St. Martin’s who gathered weekly to “sip” and enjoy being together. She and Harry enjoyed many great times with their friends of over 50 years, known affectionately as The Fat Club. She instilled a love of God, music, animals, Scrabble and humor in her children and grandchildren - her family has fond memories of family gatherings full of love and laughter.
Martha was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Harry, her parents, sister Emily, brother Howard and by her infant grandson Matthew Bengtson. She is survived by 2 children: her daughter Gayle Covington and husband Frank , and son Kyle Bengtson and wife Nancy. She was “Mamie” to 4 grandchildren: Clay Covington, wife Shelley and children Nolan and Olivia; Blake Covington, wife Melissa and children Chase and Elise; Rebecca Covington, and Chris Bengtson; and many loving nieces, nephews and cousins.
Martha was the epitome of a lady - gracious in all situations, and especially in her last days, when she required increasing assistance. She was never cross or demanding, but always genuinely thanked whoever had provided help and always had a smile to give. Martha left a legacy of faith, love, humility, loyalty, devotion, and humor. She was a fervent prayer warrior and a Godly example of unconditional love. She lived a life of joy and faith by example, and died believing in God’s unfailing promise that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
The family wishes to thank the staff and caregivers at Living Springs Village Memory Care - Waco and Texas Home Health Hospice for their compassionate care and attention.
Due to COVID restrictions, a private memorial service for family celebrating Martha’s life will be held on Sunday, May 16 at 12:00 p.m. at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church - 606 West 15th Street. It may be streamed live at www.saintmartins.org using the YouTube or Facebook link.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Settlement Home for Children - 1600 Payton Gin Road, Austin TX, 78758; the Alzheimer’s Association - www.act.alz.org; St. Martin’s Lutheran Church - www.saintmartins.org, or the charity of your choice.
Private Family Memorial
St. Martin's Lutheran Church
May 11, 2021
Your blessed mom. I can hear her soft voice saying such wise and usually humorous things. She was a fixture in our lives growing up and such a good friend to my mom. What a model in service to her family and community! Please know I remember her and your dad with great love and know they are greatly missed. Blessings to your family.
Jan Knape Skinner
May 4, 2021
Gayle - I was sad to learn of your mother's passing - one more mom in our St. Martin's Bell Choir extended family. Your Mom had a great smile. She made me feel special when I would see her at church. I am not surprised to learn that she was a class favorite at Austin High.
May God comfort and sustain you, Kyle, and your families.
May 4, 2021
I remember very fondly when I really bonded with Martha. We were on Mount Bonnell very early in the morning on a Sunday waiting for Paul Miller to get there for his wedding. Everyone was getting hungry and Martha ask us if we had anything to eat. I was the only one with anything, So I shared my cherry flavored gum with her and she was so happy. We laughed about that experience for many years. The memory is precious to me as well as many others. Love to Martha.
May 3, 2021
Martha will be missed. I recall seeing Martha and my mom engaged in long conversations at St. Martins.