Martha Lou (Bothwell) Trail died at home in Colorado Springs, CO on Saturday, July 28, after growing tired of dealing with coronary artery disease and other physical ailments. She would want you to know that heart disease did not defeat her; she just decided, on her own, to move on in search of new opportunities. Per her usual flair, Martha’s departure coincided with the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
Martha was born in Caldwell, KS on November 17, 1928, the second of Ernest Bothwell and Bertha (Pryor) Bothwell’s four children. She was the wife of Col. (Ret.) Reo Clinton Trail, and the mother of William Trail (Elsa) of Colorado Springs, CO, Julia Treland (Jeffrey) of Sacramento, CA and Cathleen Keyes (Andrew) of Arlington, VA. She is survived by her three children; eight grandchildren- Shawn, Kimberly, Christina, Jason, Aidan, Grace, Ian, and Kellan; two great-grandchildren- Natalie and Taliah; and her loyal dog, Miki.
Martha was a graduate of Caldwell High School, where she was an eager student, a quick study on the cello, and a cracker-jack drum majorette. After graduation from high school, at the age of 17, she left Kansas for Washington, D.C., where by day she worked as a secretary for the Bureau of Naval Personnel and the Pentagon, and by night was an undergraduate student at the George Washington University. The beautiful blonde with sparkling blue eyes caught the attention of a cocky young pilot intent on impressing her. She resisted. It was futile. Reo won Martha’s heart with poetry, a black Buick convertible, and charm. They were married on September 8, 1949.
Martha loved and embraced the nomadic life of an Air Force wife. She joined and eventually led the Officers Wives Club, volunteered at orphanages and displaced persons camps, learned to speak German and Spanish, joined a missionary trip to the Amazon jungle, and became a skilled and gracious hostess. She loved an adventure, relished a challenge, and made lasting friends everywhere she went.
After raising three children, and finishing her Master’s Degree, Martha taught English and Spanish at Lewis Palmer High School in Monument for many years. She was a creative and energetic instructor, who took her students on many adventures, including a week-long trip to Mexico.
Martha was an active and long-time member of the First United Methodist Church. She loved a good sermon and an inspiring hymn, knew exactly which pew she wanted to sit in, and exactly what she wanted to wear to church. Nobody loved a “good-looking outfit” more than Martha Trail, especially in the days when white gloves and a hat were de rigueur. Coral lipstick, a pearl necklace, and a warm smile for everyone were constants.
Retirement from teaching cleared the way for Martha the entrepreneur. Her love of beautiful things extended to crystal, sterling silver, and fine linens, essential to the successful antique business she owned for many years. Her knowledge of silver patterns and her outgoing and friendly manner kept customers and antique dealers seeking out her booth at shows across the state.
In her final decade, Martha became an author, writing two books that chronicle Reo and Martha’s life stories. They are “He Wears A Pair of Silver Wings”, about Reo’s military career, and “Learning to Dance in the Rain”, about Martha’s approach to life and its challenges. Her family’s lives are richer for the gift of Reo and Martha’s recorded history.
Her favorite color was blue, like the color of her eyes. Yellow was a close second. She loved fashion, music, poetry and flowers, and dreamed of the bigger world, even as a young girl in Kansas. She had a great laugh and could engage almost anyone in conversation. She eagerly brought new friends and acquaintances into her life, heart, and home. She believed that Hershey Bars (and ice cream cones) were essential to life, and that she was entitled to feed as many of them as she wanted to her grandchildren….and her dog, Miki.
Martha Lou was a Kansas sunflower – strong, hearty, beautiful, and always reaching ever higher. When you see one, think of her and go put on something nice. And if you really miss her, maybe even iron it first.
A celebration of Martha’s life will be held on Reo and Martha’s 69th wedding anniversary, September 8th, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs, CO. A reception will follow. Please wear something yellow or blue.