Martha’s Story

Martha Fousek, a resident of Western Reserve Masonic Community (Western Reserve), firmly believes that “you get out of life what you put into it.” She calls her sunny outlook part of her DNA, remembering a happy childhood and parents who were generous and cheerful. Despite the loss of her husband of 39 years, Allen (John W. Barkley Lodge No. 621) in late 2012, Martha has maintained a busy life at Western Reserve, making friends, picking up hobbies, and even giving campus tours. While Martha insists that happiness can be shared by simply saying hello, her hobbies also tend to bring sunshine to many people across campus. Martha is the founder and organizer of the annual Rummage Sale, an event in its sixth year, run by and benefiting the residents of Western Reserve. Each year, the proceeds from the sale are used to buy something extra to help enrich the lives of those living on campus. In past years, Martha and her team have purchased park benches, new televisions and even a windmill to help clean the scenic lakes. This year they plan to buy a new stationary bicycle for the fitness room. Martha is also a member of the Yarn Buddies resident knitting group. They meet weekly in the lobby to create warm lap robes and afghans that are distributed to local service agencies to help those in need. The idea for their newest project, “twiddle muffs,” came all the way from England, but will be used right at home by the residents of the Pathways Memory Care Center. These old-fashioned hand muffs are made using several different types of yarn and adorned with ribbons, buttons and braids inside and out. They are meant to help ease agitation in those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia by supplying different soothing textures and trinkets to twiddle for comfort. “When you get to be older, you don’t need material things,” Martha says, “You just need kindness.” Her own kindness to others has not gone unnoticed. Cathy Wigton, the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation President has dubbed her a “joyful living ambassador,” remembering the cheer of their interactions. If you get out of life what you put into it, Martha Fousek certainly deserves the best.

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