GRANTHAM – Dr. Martha Parker-Magagna, of Grantham, died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Her husband, David Magagna, was by her side. Martha is remembered as an innovative outlier who combined educational and intellectual pursuits with a deep concern for others. She was a problem solver with unique leadership skills, and few were as driven to make a positive impact on the world. Her true passion was education - as a student, teacher and activist - a personal mission that she continued into her final days.Martha was born on Jan. 25, 1948, in Gainesville, Fla. to Morris E. and Marian A. (Hickey) Paddick. She graduated from the University of Illinois
, and true to her adventurous spirit, found her first job in Korea coordinating special events for the U.S. Army
. Martha continued her professional career as a legislative analyst in the U.S. Congress, and later as the assistant to the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture.Martha's academic career was far ranging and culminated with a PhD in educational policy from the University of New Hampshire. The first of her two Masters Degrees came from the University of Rhode Island, which precipitated her transition from the public to the private sector. She ultimately became President, and then Partner, in a multi-million dollar marketing firm where she specialized in business development and established one of the first environmental educational practices in the United States. Martha never stopped learning. To better manage and lead projects she earned a Project Management Professional certification, and to further the art of communication she studied at Harvard where she earned a certification in Mediation and Negotiations from the Law School and in Multiple Intelligences from the Graduate School of Education. She completed graduate work in Conflict Resolutions at Antioch University, and to bring a new approach in reaching a diverse student population, Martha earned a graduate certification in Online Teaching and Blended Learning from the University of Wisconsin. She believed it was through education that one could reach their full potential, and all of her multiple degrees were obtained with the goal of using that knowledge to help others.To continue her passion for knowledge Martha entered the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
, obtaining an MPA and graduating as a Littauer Fellow, the Dean's award for outstanding leadership, scholarship and public service. She later served on the Kennedy School admissions committee.As the founder of Vantage Point Group, LLC, an educational consulting firm, she was a consultant for Elumen, a Minnesota based internet educational firm and more recently worked in New Hampshire as Project Administrator for The Governor's Task Force on STEM Education, a project perfectly in sync with her belief in the transformational power of education and in the value of community colleges.Martha was dedicated to the community in which she lived. She served on the boards of Listen Community Services and the Ledyard Charter School. Outside of the state she was a founding partner in what would become the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women. Her involvement included travel to Rwanda to help women start their own businesses, and bringing women from Pakistan and Afghanistan to the United States for additional mentoring.Without artifice or superficiality, she brought intense scrutiny to every endeavor. Her real essence was to bring joy with her beautiful smile, laughter, and sense of humbleness. Her boundless energy for social advocacy was balanced with a love of travel and an endless curiosity about other cultures. She loved the outdoors. Martha and her husband hiked, kayaked and cross-country skied, and traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, Oceana and Canada.Martha is survived by her husband, David Magagna; and by two sisters, Margaret Lake of La Quinta, Calif. and Marilyn Clemins of Boise, Idaho. She was pre-deceased by her younger sister, Michele Dill of Houston.The family wishes to thank Dr. Irene Kuter and her staff at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Hospice Team of the Upper Valley for their loving care.At Martha's request, there will be no funeral or memorial service, although a celebration of her life will be held at a future date.In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her name to the Ledyard Charter School.