Martha Marie Lindberg Mann – Muffa to her grandkids, Marty by many, Moki by few and Mom to Kati Dombrosky, Paul and Marcus Mann.
Born on October 2, 1942 in St. Paul, MN, Martha was the youngest of 4 children (Peter, Luther and Dorothy) born to the Rev. Paul and Mrs. Hortense Lindberg. Soon after WWII ended, she tagged along with her parents to war-torn Germany as they supported Lutheran World Relief aiding refugees. At the young age of 7 Martha fell in love with Germany and the language. After graduating early from Augustana in Rock Island, IL and the University of Minnesota, Martha quickly returned to Berlin, creating bonds and lifetime friendships with other like-minded young people. She toured young Americans through Soviet occupied eastern Germany, making friendships over the borders, and secretly connecting family and friends. She fell in love with Prague and the area’s rich culture.
After a wild stint in NYC with some of these same folks, Martha returned to Germany as an advertising executive in Frankfurt, Germany. Here she met and married Army officer Roy Mann with whom she had her first baby, her beamish Katherine Linnea (Kati), beginning a new chapter as an army wife and stay-at-home mom. Moving back to the States, she had her second child Paul Christian Lindberg at Fort Belvoir, Virginia and then the family moved to Colorado to begin an eleven-year chapter. Marcus Larson was born at Fort Carson and shortly after the family moved to Colorado Springs. As the director of Children’s Education at Grace and St. Stephen’s Church in Colorado Springs, Martha connected deeply with the Episcopal Church, creating and writing a youth curriculum that is still in use today.
At the age of 50, Martha moved her three children, ages 16, 12, and 8, across the country to the suburbs of Boston where she eventually led Marketing and PR for Lutheran Social Services of New England. She made an incredible impact with her creativity, writing, networking, and deep understanding of social and community service.
Kati went on to graduate from Muhlenberg College; Paul from Northeastern University and then a Master’s from Stanford; and Marcus from UMASS and then a Master’s and PhD from Duke University. Kati married Bruce Dombrosky and they had her first grandchild Zoë Linnea. Madeleine Po came along next and Muffa (her ‘grandma’ name, bestowed by her nephew Eric) visited Kati’s family and Paul in the San Francisco Bay Area as often as possible. Marcus married Lara Balian and gave Martha two more granddaughters – Maya Nita and Liv Katherine in Durham, North Carolina.
Toward the end of her career and as she neared retirement, one of Martha’s happiest times was in her friendship with Robert Ricci. She and Bob traveled the world together, spent a few seasons in Florida, and their weekends visiting museums and taking short trips. Martha’s final years were spent in West Lafayette, IN, near the Balian-Manns.
We look back on her life and remember her love of her Swedish heritage and all things Anglican; her knowledge and passion for classical music; and how she enjoyed bonding with friends and family with laughter and conversation over her various home-cooked masterpieces. She created a warm happy home for her family: Coffee percolating, Swedish pancakes at sleepovers, morning crosswords, and gentle classical music from the boombox. Her long lived friendships with her crew from Germany in her 20’s is a testament to Martha’s loyalty and joie de vivre. We honor this woman and deeply hold close all that she cherished.
Martha is survived by her older sister, Dorothy (Dody) Wagner of Whittier, her children Kati (Bruce) Dombrosky, Paul Mann, Marcus (Lara Balian) Mann and 4 granddaughters Zoë (17) and Madi (13) Dombrosky, Maya (7) and Liv (4) Balian-Mann.
A funeral service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 600 Ferry Street Lafayette, Indiana at 2:00pm on Sunday, May 21, 2023. A small gathering will be held afterward at the Balian-Mann home in West Lafayette. Please contact Kati, Paul, or Marcus for details. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lutheran World Relief in Memory of Martha Lindberg Mann.