Martha Morrow-Vojacek, a longtime resident of the Chicago area, died peacefully at home on June 20, 2021, on her 85th birthday, surrounded by her loving family.
Marti is survived by her husband of almost 38 years, Joe Vojacek; her three daughters, Deborah (Philip Kaldon, dec. 2016), Rebecca, and Lisa (Benjamin Weinberg); and her two grandsons, Elias and Leo Morrow Weinberg.
Marti was born in New Britain, CT, on June 20th, 1936, to Leonard Hamer Clarkson and Ruth Bradstreet Clarkson (née Williams). She lived with her family in several locations in New England, settling in Richmond, IN, where she completed high school and attended Earlham College. She met her first husband, Robert (Bob) Morrow there and in 1957 the couple moved to Hyde Park, where Bob pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago. In Hyde Park she later met her second husband, Joe Vojacek, also a University of Chicago alumnus and Chicago City Colleges professor of English and the Humanities (ret. 2000), whom she married in 1983.
A piano student since childhood, Marti’s love of music later included singing in the Disciples of Christ church choir and with the University of Chicago Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta Company. She also sewed costumes for the G&S operetta company and enjoyed sewing clothes for herself and her three daughters. Marti was an excellent cook and baker and loved trying new recipes. She was a patient and generous teacher of these skills to her daughters.
Once her children were in school for full days, Marti completed her BA and then an MA in English Literature at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She worked for 20 years as an administrative assistant at the University of Chicago Divinity School and International House, retiring in 1998. Her love of language and attention to detail were highly valued by the faculty she worked for there.
She supported husband Joe in his passion for collecting antique Americana and the two of them spent countless hours on the road, looking for treasures and the “perfect piece.” Marti enjoyed this travel immensely and frequently struck out on her own to visit her daughters where they were variously studying, working, and living around the US and in Europe, including a three-week trip to Vienna, Austria, to stay with daughter Rebecca in 1989.
In 2004, Marti and Joe relocated from Hyde Park to Oak Park, IL, to be nearer to daughter Lisa and Lisa’s family. Marti and Joe were frequent patrons of several popular Oak Park restaurants and loved attending their grandsons’ middle and high school theater productions. While always an avid reader, she had ample time in her retirement to enjoy mysteries, one of her favorite genres; attend movies and other theater productions; apply her love of words to crossword puzzles; and participate in quilting retreats with daughter Debbie. She and her husband Joe also made frequent trips to West Michigan and Champaign, IL, to visit daughters Debbie and Rebecca.
Marti loved people—meeting them, talking to them, learning from them, and sharing her own experiences. She was a loving and beloved wife, and a loving and beloved mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She will be dearly missed by us all.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a memorial donation to the American Friends Service Committee (afsc.org) or the BRAVO! Performing Arts program at Brooks Middle School in Oak Park IL (www.bravoperformingarts.org); a memorial gathering in the Chicago area is being planned for the autumn.