Cover photo for Martha A. Atherton's Obituary
Martha A. Atherton Profile Photo
1928 Martha 2020

Martha A. Atherton

July 4, 1928 — October 11, 2020

Visitation for Martha A. “Marty” Atherton, 92, of Plum Grove Estates, Palatine, will be held from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm Saturday, October 17, 2020 at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home 201 N. Northwest highway, Palatine. The Interment will be private.



Marty was born July 4, 1928, in Geneva, IL., and joined her Lord on Sunday, October 11, 2020.

She is survived by her son, John Curry Atherton of Beaverton, OR., nephew Don Alsen and family of Palatine, and nieces in Arizona and California. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Curry “Bob” Atherton, loving parents, David and Edla Alsen; and sons, Robert David and Richard Hillary.

Marty was born Martha Alsen and raised in St. Charles, IL.  She graduated from St. Charles Community High School in 1946. After high school she attended and graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. from which she received a BA in accounting.  Her early work after graduation included being an auditor for the well-known St. Charles hotelier, Col. Edward Baker and for Clark Street Associates, Chicago.

As a young woman, Marty had a keen sense of travel and the outdoors. And it was through the American Youth Hostels Association that she met her husband of 52 years, Bob.  They had many adventures together as they travelled the world and helped build one of the most successful machine tool dealerships in North America, Raco Industrial Corp., Des Plaines, IL.

Through the years, Marty was well-known for her tireless dedication to her business and humanitarian work. She belonged to and led many charitable and business groups; nationally and internationally. These included American Women for International Understanding and Sister Cities International, which led her to fund numerous scholarships and grants.

The Atherton foundations were major benefactors to the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church Palatine, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Northwest Community Hospital Arlington Heights, Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry Chicago, Meadville Lombard Theological School Chicago, Legacy Health Foundation Portland, OR. and many more.

Marty touched the lives of so many people, and her compassion was admired by all. Her generosity and spirituality in her family, community and church filled her life with pleasure and joy. She will be deeply missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Countryside Unitarian Church in Palatine, or a charity of choice.

Due to COVID restrictions her funeral will be private. A memorial celebration of Marty’s life is planned for next year, when health restrictions will be lifted.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Martha A. Atherton, please visit our flower store.


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