Martha Jean Essex Kotun passed away at her residence in Kendal of Ithaca on August 22, 2019, after a long, valiant struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Her family was by her side. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and educator.
Martha followed in her mother’s footsteps as an early childhood educator. She was one of the first directors of the Trumansburg Community Nursery School and then earned her bachelor’s and master’s teaching degrees at Keuka College and Elmira College, respectively. After 25 years teaching kindergarten in Trumansburg Elementary school, she mentored and supervised student teachers at SUNY Cortland. She touched the lives of many families in the community, leading Active Parenting workshops, and is the author of Thriving and Surviving: sharing the parent journey. An integral part of the Trumansburg United Methodist Church, Martha built up and supported the Sunday school program over many years. Always generous with her time, she served on numerous church committees and volunteer organizations. She loved animals as well, especially working with her standard schnauzers on obedience and agility training.
Martha is survived by her husband Rev. Dr. John J. Kotun, children Joseph Kotun (Rees Warne) and Heidi Dawes (Will Dawes), and grandchildren Rose and Oanh Dawes, as well as siblings Phillip Essex, Allan Essex, and Alice Moore and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Hartley and Esther Essex, and her brothers Dale and Glenn Essex.
There will be a celebration of her life on Saturday, September 7 at 11:00am at the United Methodist Church in Trumansburg, NY. In lieu of flowers, well-wishers are encouraged to donate to either the Trumansburg Methodist Church (http://www.trumansburgumc.org/) or the Ulysses Philomathic Library (https://trumansburglibrary.org).