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Martha Kelly Nugent

February 21, 1925 ~ August 30, 2018 (age 93)

Martha Kelly Nugent, of Davis California, passed on peacefully Thursday, August 30th, 2018 at home, surrounded by her loving family. She was 93 years old. Marty was born in Clark Township, New Jersey on February 21st, 1925. As the eldest of three girls, she was considered the “backbone” of the family by her two sisters, Shelagh and Marion, with her natural determination, courage and storytelling. A top student in high school, she excelled in science, listing her future profession as “physician.” She graduated from Douglass College with a Bachelor of Science degree as a pre-med student. Unable to obtain funding for medical school, she discovered a love of teaching and soon after married Thomas Nugent Jr. and became a superb navy wife and mother of six children. After 25 years she left that life behind and reinvented herself, graduating in 1975 with a Master of Education degree in counseling from Rhode Island College. With a keen understanding of social justice, she championed women’s rights, and dedicated herself as an educator, counselor and advocate, teaching and working in Women’s Centers and community colleges in New Hampshire, Florida and California. In her search for spiritual fulfillment, Marty embraced the Unitarian Universalist Church, Goddess spirituality and pagan ritual, teaching classes and hosting ritual events to women in her community. The image of the divine as female shaped her world view and guided her advocacy for women. The practice of yoga and the study of the yoga sutras of Patanjali helped guide her through the later years of her life. An avid reader and a lover of the arts she inspired and encouraged others to explore and embrace their own creativity. A fabulous cook, Marty used food as a way to connect with those she loved. She found joy in hosting luncheons and dinners for friends, family and even strangers. For Marty, food was her way of bringing together people from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. Because of her generous spirit, she made many enduring friendships throughout her life. A gifted conversationalist, Marty loved to engage in deep philosophical discussions. Her curiosity fueled her desire to learn about the world and everyone whom she came in contact with. She had a big smile and a sympathetic ear, but also a strong voice, and she helped many find strength, courage and understanding. A lover of the sea and of lighthouses, Marty relished her summer visits to Maine with her loved ones. She was a talented swimmer, who in her youth, performed in front of live audiences as an aqua dancer with the Elliott Murphy’s Aquashow in Flushing Meadows Park. Her love of the water was inherited by her children. Marty’s love was the dependable thread that held together a family spread far and wide across the continental United States. With a compassionate heart, she provided unceasing support for whatever endeavors they pursued and whatever challenges they faced. Marty is survived by her sister, Shelagh Houtteman; her son, Tom Nugent III; her daughters, Shelagh Nugent (Iraj Deilami), Marlaina Nugent, Jocelyn Nugent (Bill Twomey) and Kimberly Flood; her nine grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. Marty was preceded in death by her sister, Marian Carey and her son, Paul Kevin Nugent.

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