Martha L Duranceau - age: 79
(November 25, 1939 to November 25, 2018
Friends and family are invited to a burial ceremony at Saint Mary's cemetery on Elm Street in Biddeford, Maine at noon, on Sunday, April 7, 2019.
A celebration of life event will follow immediately after the burial ceremony at the Saint Louis Alumni Hall on Route 1, in Biddeford, Maine.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Martha L. Duranceau passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Martha was a woman who gave a great deal to her family, friends and church. Martha made the world a better place through her care of others, her love of music and her extraordinary commitment to education and learning. Fondly referred to as the "Fun Nun" by former students, Martha influenced generations of students via her teaching.
Martha was born on Nov. 25, 1939, to Blanche May Driscoll and Henry James "Jimmy" Duranceau of Biddeford, Maine. Martha was the youngest of 10 children – sisters, Mary, Irene, Theresa and Joan, and brothers, Donald, Normand, Raymond, Harold and Joe. Martha was a favorite of her brothers and sisters, cherished by them and later their children, frequently visiting their homes brightening holidays and helping when circumstances set these families back.
Martha is survived by her sisters, Joan Murray of Keene, New Hampshire, and Irene D. Tarbox of Kennebunk, Maine. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who will remain ever thankful for the joy, music via her guitar playing and knowledge that she brought into their lives.
Martha entered the order of the Sisters of Mercy in September of 1957, and remained with the order until 1986. Her beloved friends in the convent included Patricia Kapetsky, Sr. Barbara Brennan, and and many others.
Martha committed her life to learning and teaching, earning a master's degree in english literature from the University of Maine at Orono and a bachelor's degree from Saint Joseph's University. At Saint Joseph's, Martha gained notoriety in basketball and remained active in sports for much of her life. Martha embarked on a career of teaching that spanned decades and included institutions such as John Babst High School (Bangor, Maine) and Catherine McAulley High School (Portland, Maine). It was at John Babst where Martha was honored with the title of "Fun Nun," a title that captured her vivacity, commitment to students and the joy of learning that became her signature quality in the classroom. During her tenure at John Bapst, Martha worked with students and colleague Bill Trowell to stage a variety of memorable musical productions.
Martha was a light of life, shining brightly even while occupying the dark paneled halls of the mother house and convents. Her sprightly gait allowed her to move like a continuous breath of fresh air, and spreading life into still hallways, among solemn statuary, and under the gold-leaf dome that cast silence as part of its shadow.
Martha cherished moments on the beach, crocheting, making peanut butter fudge while staying with her siblings' families, and leading family and friends in song while playing her guitar. An ardent lover of cats, she adopted several strays, keeping them fed and sheltered, or finding homes when she could not provide one. She had a fondness for naming cats after Shakespearean characters, personalities from Greek mythology and quirky literary figures.
After leaving the convent in 1986, Martha met and later wed the now-deceased, Robert Crause, and relocated to Indianapolis, Indiana, leaving her cherished rocky coast of Maine and the family and friends who missed her and used every opportunity to get her back to the pine tree state. Martha finished her career as a teacher after retiring from the Indianapolis public schools system.