Alma Olerich Martins, 99 and one half years, Laguna Hills, CA, died Wednesday, June 9, 1999, after ending a very rich and full life.
Services were held at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 19, at Laguna Hills United Methodist Church, Laguna Hills, CA.
Survivors include her two daughters and their families, Carolyn and Andrew Wood, Laguna Beach, CA; Alma Louise and Ronnie Roberts, La Verne, CA; five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and a brother, Ellwood Olerich, Rolfe.
Alma Olerich Martins was born on November 29, 1899 in Rolfe, where she spent her childhood growing up as the oldest of six siblings on her parents' farm. The label "farmer's daughter" was one she carried proudly throughout her life. Her education began in a one-room school, and continued at Coe College 1918-1919, the University of Iowa 1919-1924, concluding with graduate work at the University of Southern California. Alma Martins was a life-long educator, beginning her teaching career in 1917-1918, even before her own college and university studies commenced. She came to California in 1925 to teach in the Covina Valley Unified School District. It was there she met her husband, Victor L. Martins, also an educator. They were married on Christmas Day, 1927. From 1938 to 1963, Alma taught with the Los Angeles Unified School District, where her husband too was a teacher and administrator.
In addition to her teaching, Mrs. Martins, was involved in the United Methodist Church. She held numerous offices in the church, including president of the local unit of United Methodist Women of the Laguna Hills United Methodist Church, and president of the Santa Ana District of United Methodist Women. She regularly recorded the "Dial-A-Devotion" messages for the Laguna Hills UMC, writing nearly five hundred devotions. She also taught a Bible Study class until she was 95 years old. Both the educational aspect of the church as well as the mission outreach of the church claimed her time and interest. After retiring from teaching, she traveled with the church to Mexico, New Zealand and Australia, the Pacific Islands, China, Korea, Central Africa, Kenya, Russia and many countries in Europe. In 1991 she traveled to Singapore as a legal delegate at the World Methodist Conference. Upon returning from each trip she used her educational and public speaking expertise to present what she had learned to numerous churches and organizations throughout Southern California. She was honored by the California Pacific Annual Conference with the "Barrier Breaker Award" given to a senior women who broke through both the barriers of age and gender with her contributions of service.