Mary Fister Martin
“She was an inspiration to all.”Mary Fister Martin died peacefully at sunrise on Feb. 11, 2006 in her Park City, Utah, home. She was 86 years old.She was born March 15, 1919, the daughter of Ruby Ostler Fister and Dr. George Morgan Fister, the first Utahan to become president of the American Medical Association. Mary was raised in Ogden, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
On Aug. 9, 1941, she married 1st. Lt. William K. Martin, Army Air Corps, of Washington, D.C., During the 30 years they traveled on assignment in the Air Force, Mary raised four children, organized wives’ club events, taught art classes, provided activities for families and produced stage shows. She pursued graduate studies in art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and American University in Washington, D.C, and at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Following 30 years in the Air Force, Bill retired in 1968. Mary and Bill moved to Los Angeles, where she wrote a musical, “Under the Bridge at Fourth and Flower,” opened an antique art gallery, Ferre LTD, and was a successful fundraiser for the Freedom Foundation. They moved to Aspen in 1971, where Bill became president of the Snowmass Corp. and Mary began an illustrious career as an art dealer and promoter of the arts for the next 20 years. She had several art galleries in Aspen and also arranged numerous art shows in Aspen; New York City; Taos, N.M.; St. Paul de Vence, France; Park City, Utah; and Palm Desert, Calif. While in Aspen, Mary was extremely active in city affairs. She was influential in establishing the original Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She served as president of the board of directors for the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, was on the board of trustees of the Music Associates of Aspen, co-chaired the board of the Colorado bicentennial celebration, chaired the second annual benefit for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and was a fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Among many of Mary’s accomplishments, one of her proudest moments was not only representing R.C. Gorman, a Navajo Indian artist, in her gallery, but also arranging his first European art show in St. Paul de Vence, in 1969. From this partnership, they became and remained close friends throughout the years. Mary also produced a PBS feature film on the early American photographer William Henry Jackson. She wrote numerous books, poems, two musicals and even had a television show in Aspen with Wink Jaffee called “The Wink and Mary Show.” As a member of the Nile Foundation, Mary traveled to Egypt as part of an all-women’s research archaeological expedition (AWARE). The expedition findings were presented in Munich, Germany, and the Explorers Club in New York City, and were produced into a film called “Women of the World.” Mary was a recipient of the University of Utah Alumnae Emeritus Award. She was also a member of the Society of Inventors and acquired a patent in 1977 for an inflatable hospital lift.
Mary was generous, thoughtful, curious and always ready for a debate. She traveled extensively and had friends from around the world and from all walks of life. She was elegant, stimulating, a fabulous hostess and a wonderful friend who will be greatly missed.Mary is survived by her husband of 65 years, retired Lt. Gen. William K. Martin, United States Air Force; children William K. Martin Jr. (Jean) of Park City; J. Michael Martin of Park City; Mary Martin Gill (Charles) of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Robert C. Martin of Park City; and six beautiful granddaughters, Laurie, Brenda, Shelley, Jessie, Jenna and Aly. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, brother Frank Fister and daughter-in-law Kathlyn Snow Martin.Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, following memorial services at the chapel at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27.Donations may be made in her name to the George M. Fister Urology Fund, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Suite 120, 540 Arapeen Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1251.