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Martha

Martha Heim Keister

d. January 9, 2024

Martha Elizabeth “Marty” Heim Keister, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a gifted teacher, died January 9, 2024, of natural causes at Moravian Manor Communities in Lititz, Pa. She was 99. Martha is fondly remembered for her warmth, her stylish beauty, and her abiding embrace of culture and travel. She was the kind of person her family and friends loved to be around—just as she loved being around them, especially children.

Born and raised in Tressler Orphans’ Home in Loysville, Pa., Martha was the middle of five siblings born to Rev. Dr. George Robert and Martha Elizabeth Frew Heim, who managed the orphanage. Martha completed most of her academic classes at the campus and worked in the nursery, kitchen, and sewing room there. Developing a passion for the arts, she performed in—and eventually produced—dramatic shows for the home’s annual Visitors Day Pageant. She learned to play piano at the campus chapel and pipe organ at the Loysville Lutheran Church and sang in school and church choirs. She shared her musical talent in churches and at home through much of her life.

Martha graduated from Shippensburg State Teachers College and, similar to her parents’ early careers, served as a public elementary school teacher in Coatesville, Pa. She also did substitute, Sunday and Bible school teaching and later used those skills as a volunteer at a Moravian Manor childcare facility.

During college, Martha met John Shenk Keister just weeks before his deployment to the Pacific theater of World War II. About a year after his return, they married. Over the next 64 years, they lived in New Holland, Pa.; Catonsville, Md.; Reading, West Chester, Greensburg, and Lancaster, Pa.; Brussels, Belgium; and, after returning to Lancaster, Lititz. An enthusiastic traveler, Martha visited some 20 countries; St. Petersburg, Russia, was a standout tour. A dedicated volunteer for various groups, she was especially proud of her work as a docent at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum in Lancaster.

Martha is survived by two sons, Stephen (and wife Jill Levine) of New York City, and Kim of Lititz; and two daughters, Kerry Kadushin (and husband Steve) of Lancaster, and Jill McBride (and husband Gary) of Atlanta, Ga. She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Kelly Westcott, Andrew Miller, Matthew Keister, Julia Keister, Kinsey Close, David McBride, David Kadushin, and Laura Parsons; and 14 greatgrandchildren. Martha was predeceased by her husband, John; two sisters, Mary Ruth Heim Davey and Anna Lois Heim Shainline; two brothers, George Robert Heim and John William Heim; and a granddaughter, Amanda McBride.

Interment will be private. The family would like to extend appreciation for the care and support by Moravian Manor and Masonic Village Hospice. Memorial contributions can be made to Moravian Manor Benevolent Fund, 300 W. Lemon St., Lititz, Pa. 17543 or to Masonic Village Hospice, 98 Masonic Dr., Suite 101, Elizabethtown, Pa. 17022.
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