Patty Martone, a longtime fixture of Fort Wayne Community Schools, died early Monday morning, her family said. She was 81.
Martone served as Fort Wayne Community Schools’ assistant superintendent from 1982 to 1986, when she retired after being diagnosed with colon cancer. Martone was a fixture in the FWCS serving as an English teacher at Central High School on Lewis Street for 12 years, dean of girls for Central and Northrop high schools for nine years and holding various administrative roles in the district’s central office.
“I left my heart on Lewis Street,” Martone once said of Central, now Anthis Career Center.
“From the day she started, way back at Central, she just loved kids,” said Tony Martone, her husband of nearly 60 years.
Martone was an avid writer and long-time guest columnist for The News-Sentinel. She wrote Northrop High School’s fight song and named the school’s newspaper and yearbook.
Part of a family deeply involved in teaching, Martone inspired others with her passion for education, said son Tim Martone, a teacher at Brentwood Elementary School and head football coach at Northrop High School.
“She was the one who was the rock, who taught us how to teach,” Tim Martone said.
Patty Martone’s other son, Michael, is a professor of creative writing at the University of Alabama, and both her daughters-in-law teach. Her brother is a retired Ball State University professor, and her sister-in-law is an elementary school teacher.
Born and raised in Fort Wayne, the 1949 North Side High School graduate enjoyed speaking, writing and contributing to the community as evidenced by her involvement with Indiana University-Purdue University’s Mastodons on Parade and her commitment to several organizational boards including the YWCA, St. Joseph Hospital, Saint Francis College, North Side High School Alumni board and the United Way.
Through the years, Martone received accolades like the Alumnus Administrator of the Year from the Three Rivers Chapter American Business Women’s Association in 1984, the National School Public Relations Golden Medallion in 1984, the Fort Wayne Woman of Achievement Helene Foellinger Award in 1992 and the Allen County Woman of the Year award in 1997.
“She left a big legacy in the Fort Wayne area,” Tony Martone said.
Tony Martone estimated his wife wrote more than 100 guest columns for The News-Sentinel. A love of writing also ran deep in her family – son Michael Martone is a widely published author and essayist whose 1984 book “Alive and Dead in Indiana” was adapted into a play and recently performed in Fort Wayne.
Patty Martone got to attend the play in June and was “brimming with pride,” said daughter-in-law Amy Martone, a teacher at Northrop.
In between bouts of chemotherapy, Patty and Tony Martone, who was also diagnosed with cancer, put in time at local cancer societies. Patty Martone battled uterine cancer in 2006 and later colon cancer, but her death Monday was unrelated, her family said.