In Memory of




Obituary for Martha Alice Esau

Martha Alice Esau (nee Ratzlaff) of West Vancouver, passed away at Lions Gate Hospital on December 11, 2023, at the age of 89.

Born in 1934 on a farm in Acme, Alberta, Martha enjoyed the outdoors and helping her mother with preserving and canning for the long winter months. She loved working with her mom and listening to the stories from the old country, Wymyschle, Poland.

Music was an important part of Martha’s life. Her father played the violin, guitar, mandolin, and banjo. One day, her father came home with a parlor organ. Martha was enthralled by the opportunity and started taking piano lessons at a young age. Martha became a proficient piano player and would share her gift of music as the Church pianist and at other family functions. It was through music that Martha, who played accordion at Gospel Street meetings in Calgary, met her husband, Abe. Throughout her life, Martha fostered this love of music in those around her.
Martha was educated in Acme, Alberta, where she graduated in 1952. After graduation, Martha moved to Calgary to attend business college and went on to work in the medical records department at Calgary General Hospital.
In 1954, Martha moved to Clearbrook, BC to attend the M.B. Bible School. Later, in 1955, she moved to Vancouver, BC, where she began her long career with the Toronto Dominion Bank.

In 1961, Martha and Abe welcomed their first child, Gerald, and that same year moved to Yak, BC to allow Abe to pursue a career in education. In 1963, Martha and Abe moved back to North Vancouver and welcomed their second child, Leanne.

In 1971, Martha and Abe took the family on an adventure of a lifetime and moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo for two years. There, Martha utilized her clerical skills and was employed as the Business Manager, in the school Abe was teaching at. During this time, Martha and Abe seized every opportunity to travel, with the family, visiting many countries in both Africa and Europe.

In 1973, Martha and Abe returned to North Vancouver where Martha restarted her career with the TD Bank. Through her hard work and commitment to TD Bank, Martha was promoted to the position of Branch Manager, where she finished the last 12 years of her career before retiring in 1994.

After retiring from the TD Bank, Martha’s focus shifted to her grandchildren. She cherished spending time with them. She loved to catch up on how they were doing in the extra curricular activities they were involved with; how their studies were coming along; and how they were growing in their careers. Family was everything to Martha and she always looked for ways to encourage the family through her actions and positive words of wisdom. Her encouragement without judgement allowed her to build strong trusting relationships with her grandchildren and she cherished those bonds more than anything.

After a full life filled with adventure, music, and a loving family to share it with, Martha passed away peacefully at the age of 89, with her children and grandchildren by her side.

Martha is survived by her son Gerald (Nadine), daughter Leanne, grandson Dustin, and her granddaughters Breanne, Jasmine, and Soleil. Martha is predeceased by her husband Abe, who passed away several months prior, in May 2023.

The funeral service will be held at 12:00 PM on January 17, 2024, at the West Vancouver United Church at 2062 Esquimalt Ave, West Vancouver, BC. The service will be followed by a reception, starting at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to be made to the following organizations:
1) Covenant House Vancouver, a nonprofit organization supporting young people experiencing homelessness*1qmpzwi*_ga*MTYxNTM4MTU0MS4xNzA0NDAyMzM3*_ga_4LLPWM5BJ5*MTcwNDQwMjMzNi4xLjAuMTcwNDQwMjMzNi4wLjAuMA..&_ga=2.31647550.1481011586.1704402337-1615381541.1704402337

2) BC Cancer Foundation,

3) Lions Gate Hospital,

Martha will be missed dearly by her family. Her unending kindness and warmth touched the lives of all who knew her, and her love, guidance, and strength will always be with us.