Barbara E. Martin, age 104 of Westborough, MA formerly of Madison, WI died on August 5th after an extended illness. Barbara was born in Hermansville, Michigan to the late Barbara and Anton Gebic. Her extended family was part of a large Croatian-American population that immigrated to Northern Michigan in early 19th century. At the age of seven she, her two sisters and her mother returned to Croatia for two years and returned to Hermansville through Ellis Island. It was an adventure she never forgot. She finished high school in Hermansville, conversant in three languages.
After graduation she attended business school in Green Bay Wisconsin. She subsequently worked at Wisconsin Land and Lumber Company, which was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places. They manufactured the hard wood floors for most American homes.
In 1941 Barbara moved to Manistique, Michigan to work as office manager at Northwoods Lumber Manufacturing, again an historic landmark making wooden handles for America’s brooms. She met her husband Herbert there whom she married 1943 while he was on leave from the Army. They were together for 61 years until Herbert died in 2004. Barbara lived in many midwestern states throughout her married life with Herbert as his corporate career expanded with J. C. Penney Co. She established friendships in each state and maintained them throughout her life. She was a great letter writer and chronicler of her daily life. Barbara was an avid reader, gardener, sports fan, and conversationalist. She was always proud of her Croatian heritage. She is survived by her daughter Mary Canty of Southborough, MA and many nieces and nephews. Private graveside services will be held in Manistique, Michigan
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