Linn Ellen (Whitmer) Martin

Linn Ellen (Whitmer) Martin passed away peacefully in her sleep on May 22 at ProMedica (Manor Care) Nursing Home in Lancaster at the age of 81. Linn was a graduate of Manheim Township High School and Eastern Mennonite University.

Linn’s parents, Betty and Charlie Whitmer, were from Topeka, Kansas, and were drawn to Milwaukee in the early 1940’s for his work. Linn was born in Milwaukee in 1941, and the family moved to Lancaster when Charlie joined Armstrong Cork Company. As a young woman, Linn was an original member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, which her parents then joined at her urging.

Finding her dear love Paul Martin at Millersville State Teachers College, they raised three sons, Kevin, Kris and Kyle. Linn’s support as a mother and guide influenced their lives of service and change for Kevin, a peace activist, currently the president of Peace Action; Dr. Kris Martin, a clinical psychologist at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital; and her dear son Kyle, who sadly lost his life in a kayak accident in Wyoming in 1995 as he was pursuing his passion for adventure.

Linn’s career included serving as patient ombudsman and administrator at St. Joseph Hospital and more recently with High Industries. Linn completed her Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Mennonite University as a returning student.

With the magic of Ancestry D&A she discovered in 2017 that she had a brother, Don, and a whole new grafted branch of the family tree. This branch enriched her life on so many levels with family celebrations and many discoveries, joys and tears.

Linn lived and enjoyed her life largely through her loving relationships with others. A deeply devoted daughter to Charlie and Betty, loving sister to Todd and Don, delighted grandmother to Maya, Max and Aidan, dear aunt to Day, Julie, Lisa, Laurie and Doug, and committed friend to so many schoolmates, co-workers and neighbors, Linn’s most joyful role was as mother to her sons. Linn’s grace and courage following Kyle’s death at age 24 while kayaking on the Hoback River was remarkable and inspiring, modeling the human capacity to love and persevere through tragedy and grief. Linn had a rare ability, rooted in genuine kindness and sincere unconditional love, to make others feel deeply cared about. Hers was a life well loved.

A voracious reader, Linn read every word ever written about the British royal family, the Kennedys and the Obamas, as well as hundreds of biographies, fiction and nonfiction books. She also shared her love of reading by volunteering for a reading circle of incarcerated women.

Fun fact – she gave herself a middle name, Ellen. Linn Martin is survived by her loved ones listed above. A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 23 at 11:00AM at Lancaster Friends Meeting, located at 110 Tulane Terrace. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Peace Action Education Fund online at or by check, mail to PO Box 8637, Silver Spring, MD, 20907.

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  • This is a beautiful tribute. Our heartfelt sympathy to Kris and your family . Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

  • What a beautiful tribute! She WAS well loved. Wishing much peace and love to her family and friends.

  • Dearest Todd,
    This is such a lovely obit for your sister. God bless her and you.

    Hugs, Patsy Heilbron Lavinia

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