1933 - 2012
Martha Victor Francesco, age 79, and a longtime resident of College Place, passed away peacefully while surrounded by her family on Oct. 18, 2012. She was born on April 26, 1933, in Pahoa, Territory of Hawaii. Martha was a devoted wife of 60 years to her husband, Rocco R. Francesco.
Raised in Hawaii, Martha was a member of St. Agustin Catholic Church in Waikiki on the island of Oahu. She often recalled leaving church on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, and seeing many planes flying overhead toward Pearl Harbor. Martha graduated from Kaimuki High School in 1951 and soon after met Rocco, a young Air Force airman, stationed at Hickam AFB, whom she later married. After Rocco was honorably discharged from the Air Force, they moved to upstate New York with their first child in tow. Their family would be complete with their sixth child born in 1962.
Always missing Hawaii, Martha and Rocco once again called Hawaii home in 1968. As a homemaker, Martha enjoyed her family and her large extended Hawaiian family. She truly was a gentle soul who always found beauty and compassion even in the most difficult situations. Martha’s sense of humor often did not match her quiet, unassuming ways. In 1986, a year after her husband retired from teaching, they moved back to upstate New York. It was here that Martha found her love for gardening, which often resulted in an abundance of produce that was enjoyed by neighbors and friends.
Eventually the decision was made to move closer to their eldest son, which brought her to live in College Place/Walla Walla, about 10 years ago. It is here that she peacefully lived out the final years of her life.
Martha is preceded in death by her parents, Edward Wikoli Victor and Esther Makaena; her son, Jon W.; her son-in-law, Valentine Santarone Sr.; and her brother-in-law, Tommy Abihai. She is survived by her husband, Rocco Francesco; her son and daughter-in-law, Ronald Kalani and Lara Francesco; her daughter, Darlene Leilani Santarone; her daughter and son-in-law, Desiree Ipolani and Marshall McKillip; her son and daughter-in-law, Kevin Nahua and Karen Francesco; her son, John Kuipo Francesco; older sister, Rose Abihai; 11 grandchildren, Malia Martin, Kiana Francesco, Alan Francesco, Jonathan Francesco, Anthone Santarone, Valentine Santarone Jr., Crystina Aona, Shawlea Aona, Krystal Francesco, Katrina Francesco, John Lacaden; 13 great-grandchildren, Noah Francesco, Alex Martin, Titus Martin, Patience Francesco, Aleisha Santos, Kristiny Faria, Trinity Faria, Valentine Santarone III, Caleb Santarone, Ka`ena Kim, Hi`ilani Kim, Tamateo Pooloa, and Kalli Francesco.
A private service will be held for the immediate family in remembrance of Martha’s life. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent de Paul through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA 99362. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.com.