‘Her friendship is in our hearts’

Delphine Martin
Aug. 10, 1934 – Sept. 5, 2012

September 26, 2012 | God at work in the Church | Number 19
By Dick Benner, | Editor and publisher
Waterloo, Ont.

“Friendship is a jewel in life. Delphine Martin knew how to polish that jewel,” said Melba Tanner, a fellow family therapist at the memorial services of her friend held at Waterloo North Mennonite Church Sept. 9. Delphine, age 78, died Sept. 5 after battling Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

“Delphine’s delicious sense of humour (usually delivered in succinct one liners) combined with a down to earth approach to life intrigued others at Interfaith Pastoral Counselling Centre,” continued Ms. Tanner. “The icing on the cake was that she was beautiful and as I quickly learned that beauty went to the bone. Though very intelligent (often choosing to hide her intellectual ability under a bushel), she allowed her light to shine through her children who are a testimony to her strong creative intelligence.”

Delphine was a founding member of Shalom Counselling when it started under the charter of Mennonite Central Committee in 1982. She, along with Ralph Lebold, Gary Gerber, Glenn Brubacher, Mark Yantzi, Martha Smith Good, Gerald Good, Herb Schultz, Rufus Jutzi, Ellen Moyer, Aldred Neufeldt, Darrell Fast and Bill Dyck, met in November, 1981 to begin planning for Shalom.

Holding a master’s degree in psychology and counselling, Ms. Martin served as executive director at Shalom for six years, clinical director for 10 years and then part-time counsellor for four years, for a total of 20 years.

“Delphine navigated these shifts in administrative roles with dignity, always extending respect and encouragement to those who took on her previous role,” said Wanda Wagler-Martin, a fellow church member and executive director of Shalom since 1997. “Throughout her entire tenure at Shalom, she always worked as a counsellor in addition to her other responsibilities, balancing the administrative and clinical roles with much grace. Delphine touched many lives as an esteemed counsellor who extended much compassionate wisdom in her work with clients. Many people were assisted to move beyond their struggles as a result of her capable care.”

Delphine is survived by her husband, Lloyd, four sons—Rick, Roger, Brad and Terry—and a daughter, Jackie, and grandchildren Shelley Abdulla, Stephanie, Lloyd, Daniel, Emily, Taylor, Eli and Evelyn Martin, and Penelope and Felix Giesen. Burial was in the St. Jacobs Mennonite Cemetery, followed by a reception at Waterloo North.

“It hurts to say goodbye,” lamented her friend Ms. Tanner. “But it is not goodbye. The treasure of her friendship is in our hearts. Our love and friendship are stars in her new boundless space.” Delphine wrote about that “boundless space” in a poem shortly before her death.

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