She was an educator and community activist.
For many she was a mentor and leader, someone they now call an inspiration who molded them into what they are today.
And for many others, Patty Martone epitomized everything great about life, community and helping those around her.
"When I think about her, I think very succinctly that she was Fort Wayne," said Amy Martone, Patty's daughter-in-law. "She was a very community-minded person. She had a heart and soul for others."
Martone, 81, died unexpectedly just after 2 a.m. Monday. Her family had taken her to the hospital with what was thought to be a non-life-threatening problem Sunday, but her health worsened shortly thereafter.
"We were blessed and cursed at the same time," said Amy Martone. "She would not have wanted to be someone who couldn't enjoy life to the fullest."
Patty Martone, who graduated from North Side High School, worked for Fort Wayne Community Schools for more than three decades, beginning as an English teacher at the old Central High School – now Anthis Career Center – in 1953.
During the next 30-plus years, she held positions including dean of girls at Central and Northrop high schools, director of community services, and assistant superintendent.
At Central, a young Wendy Robinson, the current Fort Wayne Community Schools superintendent, came under Martone's tutelage.
In a 2006 interview with The Journal Gazette, Robinson recalled Martone as the one who "polished me, got me into social activities, community service. She pushed me, mentored me, adopted me – she did that to everybody at Central."
Martone didn't stop working once she retired from the district. Instead, she frequently returned to schools to volunteer and immersed herself in community projects.
Her volunteer work as the chairwoman for Fort Wayne's 1994 Bicentennial earned her a Citizen of the Year award from The Journal Gazette, which she shared with two others who worked on the project with her.
One of those, Irene Walters, remembered Martone as someone who was always there to listen to your problems and to make things better.
"She was a harbor of safety, wisdom and love where I ran many times for nurturing and advice," said Walters, who does marketing and communications for IPFW. "She offered unconditional love and empathy."
A survivor of colon cancer, Martone loved to write and frequently provided letters to The Journal Gazette and guest editorials to The News-Sentinel. She was a member of various boards and the winner of many awards and honors.
But none of the accolades were as important to her as her hometown and those within it, according to those who knew her. She was always trying to better the community.
"She knew no strangers, the community was her children, and she remembered everyone's name," Walters said. "And it wasn't phony. It was all sincere."
In 2000, Martone headed a group that pushed for statues honoring the Hamilton sisters, three women who left their mark on education and community more than a century ago, in Headwaters Park.
In recent years, she had given lectures, written at least one book and appeared in a documentary about the Hamilton women immortalized in the park statues.
"I just saw her a few weeks ago," said Krista Stockman, the current FWCS spokeswoman. "She said she failed at retirement. She was always doing something or always had some new project. She never slowed down."
Stockman, a former reporter with The Journal Gazette, had the opportunity to interact with Martone as both a journalist and a colleague, and saw firsthand the difference she could make in people's lives.
"It was inspiring to just be around her," Stockman said. "She was never my teacher or administrator for me in terms of school or my job, but you couldn't help but just be passionate about life when you were around her."
Surviving are Martone's husband, Tony Martone, her two sons, teacher Tim Martone and author Michael Martone, and three grandsons.