Martha Colbath Donahue

March 15, 1936February 12, 2021

Martha Elizabeth Colbath Donahue and her twinkling laugh passed on from our world on February 12, 2021. She was eighty-four and 5/6ths years young. She was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to William and Doris Colbath and was raised near Woodford’s Corner area of Portland, Maine. Youthful summers were spent at family camps in Alton Bay, New Hampshire and on Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine. In 1964, she married Roger W. Donahue, who predeceased her in 1991.

She graduated Deering High School in 1954. From there she went on to Farmington State Teachers College. Graduating in 1958 with her teaching degree, she went on to become an elementary school teacher that helped shape the world for over 53 years. She started her career in Lewiston and then spent 45 years in Gorham teaching 5th grade. Her dedication to her students was legendary. She was famous for root beer float parties and Christmas candle making projects.

She had a lifelong passion for being involved and helping her communities. When she resided in Lewiston, she was a member of the Little Community Theater and performed many shows, such as, Oklahoma! and The Music Man. Since 1983, she was an integral member of Altrusa International, a service organization dedicated to literacy and education. She devoted countless hours to bringing the joy of books and reading to innumerable people . She was also a member of the Cumberland County Retired Educators Association and the Maine Education Association and worked as the historian there for many years.

She is survived by her brother, William Colbath and his wife Mary; her sister, Helen Colbath; her three nieces and five great-nieces and nephews; Rebecca Page and her two children, Andrew and Brook; Allison Colbath; Katherine Guerrette, her husband Christopher and their three children Ian, Jackson and Delaney; and her cat, Gabby (who got her name because she talks so much). She is also survived by the countless friends that she considered family. She was blessed to still hold dear people from all chapters of her life; elementary school, college, teaching and thirty-five years of neighborhood friends. They made her life rich and brought her much happiness.

She had a love of all things whimsical and joyful. Every nook and cranny of her home was always decorated for every season and holiday. Children’s books took center stage in her heart and her coffee table. She was known for having a car trunk full of books at the ready no matter where she went. Her endless energy and crafty creativity, fueled by late night coffee, could bring life to any gathering. She was always prepared to entertain and host, whether it was a decadent dinner or a neighborhood block party, she was ready to celebrate and laugh!

There will be a small, private gathering in the springtime at Evergreen Cemetery for her interment. Arrangements handled by Advantage Funeral in Portland.

When you think of her, and want to honor her memory, think about doing one of these things:

*Volunteer *Support Independent Bookstores *Read a Book *Give a Book *Eat Good Food; especially a rhubarb pie or cake with chocolate frosting. *Or Donate to Altrusa Portland, P. O. Box 8834, Portland, ME 04104 in her name to continue to spread the joy of reading.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Martha Colbath Donahue

have a memory or condolence to add?

Janice Cerabona

February 25, 2021

I met Martha when I retired and became a member of the Maine Education Association Board of Directors. She was so involved and supportive of all our activities but especially Read Across American to celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss' Birthday. As retired educators this was a great opportunity to volunteer in classrooms and read to children. Martha has made a very special impact on many of us. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and work with this amazing educator.

Eva Platt (Ocean Ave Elementary Librarian)

February 24, 2021

Martha was always so involved in the students and the library at Ocean Ave. She'd stop by on a regular basis asking how she could help, and she was always delivering so many magical books for our students. Some were for classes, some for students, some for our library, but she always had a book and a mission and a story. She will be very missed and was very loved.

Kathy (Kimball) Richardson

February 22, 2021

Mrs. Donahue was my 5th grade teacher at Little Falls Elementary School. She was firm but kind. She really cared about all of her students and wanted us to learn. I can remember how proud I felt when I achieved something and received her praise. My Dad was the Principal and they were all good friends so I would get to see many of the teachers at social functions, outside of school. Martha was fun and funny. As an adult, we worked together in the Gorham schools and I got to enjoy her friendship myself. She kept her “old school” methods and I had so much respect for her and how much energy she always had and how excited she was about kids learning. She was the consummate teacher. It was the perfect profession for her. She will be missed by those of us lucky enough to have been her student and/or friend. Rest well Mrs. Donahue. Your work here is done and done well. I hope you and my Dad have had a chance to get together with all the other Little Falls and Village teachers that have passed and are recalling all the old times and your laughter is filling the air.

Stephanie Richards

February 21, 2021

Mrs. Donahue gave me books. She saw and fostered my love of books, and I became that aunt who gave my nieces and nephews books. She and Roger were so loved by the entire Richards family, and I have wonderful memories of her at my parents parties, at Sunday dinner after church at St. Peter's, laughing at our kitchen table with my mom, Lorraine. We still have Christmas tree skirts she made for the church fair, and her stuffed mushroom recipe is legend. She was a Light in this world.

Jacqueline Durant-Harthorne

February 20, 2021

So sorry to hear of Martha's passing. She was certainly an icon at Village School in Gorham. I used to smile when seeing her show up at Narragansett as a sub during testing. She certainly was dedicated to her profession.


February 19, 2021

Mrs. Donahue was my favorite teacher! I have thought of her often over the years. I see I'm not the only one. RIP and thank you for making such a huge impact on so many young lives.

Class of 1954 Deering High School

February 19, 2021

On behalf of the Class of 1954 Deering High School, we extend our deepest sympathy on "Marti's" passing. A great classmate and friend to all, she will be greatly missed.

Gerry Day

February 18, 2021

Mrs. D was an amazing woman and teacher. She taught my granddaughter, Kiara, who credits her teaching with helping her in writing. She was a gracious lady and I talked with her last year and she was glad to hear of my granddaughter’s success. RIP dear Mrs D.

Kim Meggison

February 18, 2021

Dear Kate and Family -

My best to you as you navigate this difficult time. Your Aunt Martha was, indeed, an amazing woman. Whomever helped write her obituary captured her generous and spunky spirit beautifully.

I will forever hear Martha (literally) running down the halls of Village School. She had places to go, books to share, and students to advocate for! It was my honor to teach with her for many years and to call her my friend. No doubt Martha left a positive, lasting mark on our world -- and there's no doubt as to where she stood while doing so! Love that lady!

Kim Meggison