In Memory of

Martha

L.

Pohl

(Warren)

Obituary for Martha L. Pohl (Warren)

Martha Louise (Warren) Pohl, 90, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 14, 2023, at her 1889 family homestead surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of the Reverend Dr. David C. Pohl with whom she shared nearly 68 years of marriage.

Martha was born in the Lowell General Hospital on November 10, 1932, and was the daughter of the late Edwin H. and Helen M. (Pearson) Warren.

Martha grew up on the Warren Family Farm, graduating as valedictorian of her 1950 class of Chelmsford High School. She then studied at the Lowell General Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1953 as a Certified Registered Nurse, and served until 1957 as a staff nurse at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

On the night of October 26, 1954, she met her future husband David at his ordination into the Unitarian ministry at the First Parish Unitarian of Bedford. They were married on October 1,1955 at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Chelmsford. In 1957, she gave birth to their first child Elizabeth Louise, at the Lowell General Hospital, then joining David in a move to an assistant ministry of the First Unitarian Universalist church of Cleveland, Ohio, and thence, four years later to the senior ministry of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They lived and loved it there, and in 1962, she gave birth to their second child, Eric Warren, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Leaving Ottawa a decade later was a difficult choice to make, but in all such challenges Martha and David were on the same page in their life decisions. They embraced the decision for David to join the Department of Ministry at UUA continental headquarters in Boston, where he served till his retirement in 1993.

For 16 years, Martha enjoyed their home in Reading and resumed her nursing career at nursing homes in North Reading, Stoneham, and then for an extended period at the Fairlawn Nursing Home in Lexington. In 1985, she joined David in a four and a-half month sabbatical in Australia, where he served the Unitarian church in Adelaide. That experience also included visiting California’s wine country, a week on Maui, and a week in Sydney where one of Martha’s most indelible memories was attending “Handel’s Messiah” at the Sydney Opera House. Living on temporary work visas “down under” enabled Martha and David to live in a parsonage, be loaned a car, and settle into a suburban neighborhood and enjoy metro Adelaide and a warm congregation. In the closing days of their time in Adelaide, an unexpected invitation came to attend a reception for a visiting Queen Elizabeth. Martha and David were seated in the front rows at her unveiling of a statue honoring the memory of Catherine Helen Spence, a Unitarian suffragist. Many members of the Adelaide congregation visited Martha and David in the following years at their home in Chelmsford.

After returning from “down under”, Martha’s father, Edwin H. Warren, died and left Martha his Chelmsford home and shared ownership of the farmland with her brother Franklin. Franklin then worked the farm, primarily raising hay, until health issues interfered. Franklin died in 2015 and, five years later, the Pohl and Warren families sold the 54 acre farmland to the Town of Chelmsford with a conservation restriction. This restriction ensures preservation for open space and nature trails. The Warren-Pohl Conservation Reservation is now visited by countless area residents to enjoy its history and many gifts of nature. Martha often recalled with joy her walks on the farm with her beloved Aunt Miriam who taught her to identify a long list of wildflowers, kept even today in Martha’s well-organized desk.

Soon after settling into their newly-expanded and renovated homestead, Martha returned to a helping profession with the Cooperative Elder Services Center in Acton, where she remained until her retirement in 1999. Her eleven years of service there were marked by her typical professionalism, kindness, patience, and “cheerful, lovely” self, in the words of both colleagues and clients.

In retirement, Martha and David had more time for gardening in Chelmsford, enjoying the Vermont cottage they built in 1967, and traveling to several Canadian provinces and upstate New York. Following major surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2008, Martha happily recovered, and in time, resumed a less-active, but still vigorous life at home, enjoying her six grandchildren and life-long love of reading and music as well as her new-found friends in a “Bone Builders” exercise class in Westford.

Surviving the period of Covid, her life was abruptly interrupted in mid-April of this year with a major stroke
from which she was initially recovering, but then suffered several setbacks that led to a private, poignant conversation with David in which she sought his agreement that she begin home hospice care. It was a profoundly sad promise grounded in their deep and abiding love that began on an October evening nearly 69 years ago in nearby Bedford.

In addition to her loving husband David, Martha is survived by her daughter Elizabeth Louise and husband Dean Corner of Augusta, Maine and granddaughters Miriam Elizabeth of Lowell and the Reverend Erica Rose Long of Cambridge; her son, Eric Warren and wife Mary Patricia Anderson of Chelmsford, and grandchildren Ethan Warren of Kingston, Ontario, Elena Ruth of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Laura Elizabeth of Westmore, Vermont, and Andre Anderson of Chelmsford. Her brother Franklin died in 2015. Martha also leaves numerous nieces and nephews. Martha’s mother, Helen M, died in 1958; her father, Edwin H, in 1986.

Martha’s internment was held privately at Pine Ridge Cemetery on August 21, 2023 conducted by the Reverend Gary E. Smith, minister emeritus of the First Parish in Concord.

The public is invited to a Memorial Service to be held on Sunday, October 8, 2023 at 2 PM at the First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, Concord, MA. A reception will follow.

Memorial donations for Martha may be made to the Town of Chelmsford/Warren-Pohl Reservation and sent to Conservation Agent, Town of Chelmsford, 50 Billerica Road, Chelmsford, MA 01824.