Beloved name­sake of a Modesto school dies at 98

The Modesto Bee - - Local - BY JOHN HOL­LAND jhol­land@mod­bee.com

Al­berta Mar­tone, a long­time ed­u­ca­tor and the name­sake of a Modesto school, died Mon­day at 98.

She worked for Modesto City Schools from 1948 to 1980, mostly as a prin­ci­pal, and was hon­ored in 1987 with the nam­ing of the new Mar­tone Ele­men­tary School. It is on Poust Road, just south of the Modesto Ju­nior Col­lege west cam­pus.

Mrs. Mar­tone paid many vis­its to the school over the en­su­ing three decades, in­clud­ing one in the last month. She died at her Modesto home.

“My mom was a very strong woman, and ed­u­ca­tion was No. 1 for her,” daugh­ter Ch­eryl Dal Porto of Plac­erville said Wed­nes­day. “Fam­ily was also ex­tremely im­por­tant.”

She was born Al­berta Nusser on April 12, 1920, near Plevna, Kansas. Her fam­ily was among tens of thou­sands of peo­ple who fled the Dust Bowl of the 1930s for the San Joaquin Val­ley.

She mar­ried James Mar­tone in 1943, while he was sta­tioned with the Air Force in New Jersey. He went on to work for Sharpe Army De­pot in Lathrop and died in 1972.

Mrs. Mar­tone started her ca­reer in Kansas and then taught fifth grade at Wash­ing­ton, Bur­bank and Marshall schools in Modesto. She was vice prin­ci­pal at Fairview School and prin­ci­pal at Lin­coln, Fre- mont and Rose Av­enue schools. She then was the found­ing prin­ci­pal in 1974 at Sonoma School, de­signed to “main­stream” dis­abled chil­dren into the student body. Her last po­si­tion was di­rec­tor of per­son­nel for the district.

Mrs. Mar­tone spoke in a 2010 Modesto Bee story about the key to her suc­cess in lead­ing schools: “I al­ways had won­der­ful teach­ers. That’s the ba­sics ... If you have a good staff, it makes you look good.”

She will get two trib­utes next week: Mar­tone School will hold a Tues­day morn­ing as­sem­bly, with the fam­i­lies of the cur­rent student body in­vited. A fu­neral will be at 11 a.m. Thurs­day at Cen­te­nary Methodist Church, 1911 Toyon Ave., Modesto.

Mrs. Mar­tone is also sur­vived by son Gary Mar­tone of Al­bu­querque, seven grand­chil­dren and 11 great-grand­chil­dren.

DARRYL BUSH dbush@mod­bee.com file

Al­berta Mar­tone, seen here in 2009, was the name­sake of a Modesto area ele­men­tary school.

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