Martha Orvis: Edmonds School District teacher was a passionate advocate for students

Martha Elizabeth (Hansen) Orvis

Martha Elizabeth (Hansen) Orvis “ran with perseverance the race marked out for her” and went to heaven on May 17, 2022 (Heb. 12:1).

She was born in Minneapolis, MN on December 14, 1959 into a family that instantly adored her. Though SMA kept her in a wheelchair, Martha was not her wheelchair nor did she live a fragile life. She could have easily chosen a mild existence, but she chose what her diagnosis would deem as wild instead. She was bold, adventurous, driven, wise, and strong. She could problem solve anything. In a world full of excuses, Martha gave none. She did not complain about the adversity she faced, but rather worked hard with a beautiful smile and abundant humor that brought laughter and joy wherever she went.

She earned a BA and an MA from California State University, Fresno and she worked with students from all situations and all types of disabilities, teaching special education for over 20 years. Martha taught in the Fresno Unified School District and also locally at: Scriber Lake High School, Lynnwood High School, Hazelwood Elementary, and Westgate Elementary. She married Dave Orvis, the “Bible Study Babe” and the love of her life, in 1994. Together they loved trips to the beach, their dogs, and making each other smile. Martha was a gifted painter, devoted friend, skilled teacher, and a passionate advocate for students who often had few people in their corner. Throughout her life, many people pushed Martha in her chair, but she did so much more in return — pushing others to step out of their comfort zones and grow while she supported, encouraged, and prayed for them.

Martha is preceded to heaven by her amazing parents, Jim and Margaret Hansen, and nephew, Tim Becker. She is survived by her husband of 27 years, Dave Orvis, siblings: David Hansen (Debbie), Mary Becker (Bruce), Tom Hansen (Kathy); in-laws: Jim & Mary Orvis, Bill Orvis (Tracy), Lisa Edwards (Tim); and many beloved nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. In addition to family, Martha leaves behind an entourage of wonderful longtime caregivers who were not only her arms and legs, but who were more importantly dear friends and confidants. Dave would like to thank all of Martha’s caregivers through the years (affectionately referred to as the Sisterhood of Martha) for their generous love and care.

A memorial service to celebrate Martha’s life will be held on Saturday, June 4th at 2pm at Edmonds Presbyterian Church at 22600 96th Ave. W. Memorial gifts may be given to Cocoon House at

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