If one person could represent Fort Wayne’s community spirit, Patty Martone would fit the bill.
The retired educator, who died Monday at 81, wasn’t just a cheerleader for the city. She was a tireless advocate for making it a better place, primarily by inspiring and encouraging young people.
The Journal Gazette honored Martone as one of three Citizens of the Year in 1994, for their work in Fort Wayne’s bicentennial celebration. The theme of history and education was a common thread in much of her work. She served on boards for the YWCA, St. Joseph Hospital, the University of Saint Francis, North Side High School Alumni board and United Way.
Martone was honored as Allen County Woman of the Year in 1997, Fort Wayne Woman of Achievement Helene Foellinger Award in 1992 and won the National School Public Relations Golden Medallion in 1984.
Her family’s roots in education run deep. Husband Tony, who worked for General Telephone/Verizon, was a longtime coach for the Police Athletic League programs. Son Tim and daughter-in-law Amy Martone both are Fort Wayne teachers. Son Michael Martone is a professor of creative writing at the University of Alabama and an author and essayist.
The community will miss Patty Martone’s indefatigable energy and spirit. It’s a better place for her contributions and for the achievements she inspired in others.