Martha Lussier


“A Voice for Those in Need”

Martha Lussier’s legacy is one of community service. She cared about the community and the people in it, and she was a tireless worker who never asked anyone to do something that she wouldn’t do herself.

For years, Martha served as the director of the Visiting Nurse Association. In addition, she helped to establish Woodstock’s food shelf and clothing closet, advocated for the Health Information Referral Service (HIRS), and assisted with connecting people in need with organizations such as the Faulkner Fund and King’s Daughters.

Martha believed that the best way to help people was to extend the support that people need to get back on their feet, but at the same time to encourage them to become independent. Consequently, if people were in need, instead of suggesting that an organization pay off all their bills, Martha tried to establish a path so that people would contribute and help solve their own problems and take ownership for getting their lives back on track.

Martha was born in 1915 to Robert and Elizabeth Buckman Wells. Cassie Horner, Martha’s niece, recollects that as childhood friends, Martha and Cassie’s mother (who eventually became Martha’s sister-in-law) traversed Mount Tom like a big playground, skipped sewing school if they could get away with it (they couldn’t), spent as much time as possible swimming at the dam by the grist mill, and traveled between their houses on Hartland Hill and Eaton Place.

Martha loved animals. She often told stories about the tough little ponies she rode as a girl. She liked them for their strong-willed crankiness, probably because she could see that combination of traits in herself.

Desiring to be a nurse, she attended Mary Hitchcock Nurses Training Program. After graduating, she served as an instructor for the program and then, eventually, started working for Woodstock’s Visiting Nurse Association. From that time until retirement, she balanced children, husband, and career; did all her own housework and shopping; and welcomed guests for cookouts and holidays. Martha often recalled the early years when she worked nights in Hanover and her husband worked days in Woodstock. She told about how he arrived from work with the car, and she then drove it to her job.

Martha was married for over 50 years to Earl “Pete” Lussier. They raised their children, Ann and Bob, in the home that they built on Hartland Hill.

Martha’s legacy is one of caring. In addition to the Woodstock Community Food Shelf, the Martha Lussier Health Information and Referral Service continues to serve the greater Woodstock community by making referrals of experienced caregivers, without charge, to all families and individuals who are seeking in-home assistance.

Robert and Elizabeth Buckman Wells

Martha at the Woodstock Community Food Shelf that she helped to establish in 1984 in the basement of St. James Episcopal Church. The Food Shelf expanded over the next four years, and in 2008, it was incorporated into a non-profit, 501(c)(3) registered with the IRS. In 2009, the Food Shelf moved to its own quarters at Maxham Meadow Way.

Martha Wells and Earl Lussier on their wedding day, July 27, 1941. St. James Church, Woodstock, Vermont.

Martha receiving an award for her many contributions.