Martha Jane Utzman

Martha Jane Utzman

July 11, 1932 -April 26, 2023

We are deeply saddened to announce that, Martha Jane Utzman, age 90, passed away unexpectedly yet peacefully, on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at Peterson Regional Medical Center in Kerrville, Texas due to complications after a successful hip surgery. She, also, had been suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis, and some other minor ailments.

Martha was born in the family home on July 11, 1932 in the small town of Splendora, Texas just northeast of Houston. Her parents were the late Charles Edward Coleman and Vida Gertrude Bazzoon. She was #7 of 8 children and she was an aunt by the age of 5. So, the first 3 or 4 grandchildren, Shirley (Junie) Varvel Caldwell, Eddy Coleman, Bob Coleman, and Claudette Coleman Lowe were more like siblings to her. It was never a dull moment in the Coleman household. Martha was naturally musically inclined because she could play piano by ear. She could play just about anything you requested. She must have inherited her musical talent from her parents because her dad played the fiddle, and her mom played the organ for church and taught music in the local school. As Martha grew up, she was a tom-boy and her brother Charles called her Mike and that nickname stuck for the rest of her life. Many old neighbors, friends, and coworkers knew Martha as Mike Utzman.

She gained a love of sports and played basketball in high school. After graduating from Splendora High School in 1949, she attended Stephen F. Austin University for 1 year, and then promptly decided to become a registered nurse. She went to the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing in Beaumont, Texas. For 35 years, she enjoyed an amazing career as an OR Nurse working in surgery in a few different hospitals in Houston, Texas. After that she worked as a visiting nurse for 10 years in Athens, Texas and she loved that because she got to know her patients better.

On December 16, 1955, Martha married Walter (Bill) William Utzman, Sr. after meeting at a bowling alley in Houston only 3 months prior to getting married. They both were substituting for friends in a bowling league on the same day and Bill was smitten from the very beginning. He asked Martha to get married after only one date. He was stationed in Colorado Springs and Martha and her mom drove there in December of 1955 and they were married in the Episcopal chapel on the army base. They stayed married for over 51 years until Bill’s passing on January 26, 2007. They got to live in Germany for 2 years, Houston for about 30 years, then Athens, Texas for about 24 years. Mom moved to Kerrville in 2012 to be near her only granddaughter, Katie, who is the light of her world.

Martha had several pass-times and hobbies. Not only was nursing a passion of hers, but she enjoyed snow skiing with her husband Bill, family, and friends. She was a very good tennis player and was in a tennis league in the Houston area well into her 50’s. She played a little golf, and loved watching all kinds of sports including football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. Texas A&M was her favorite football team. Watching the Super Bowl every year was a must and ever since she moved to Kerrville, she became a big fan of the San Antonio Spurs. Martha had a few hobbies she took up over the years such as cooking (she was a fabulous cook and loved to entertain for the holidays), baking, needle point, sewing, painting, flower arranging, and gardening. If she wasn’t busy working, you could often find Martha outside watering the yard or planting some new flowers. She loved to have a beautifully landscaped yard. She and Bill pretty much did all their own landscaping at every house they owned. After retirement, Martha especially enjoyed volunteering at the Cottage Shop in Kerrville as well as being a mentor/volunteer at Starkey Elementary where she loved reading with young children. Finally, Martha was an avid reader. And I mean AVID!!! She regularly stayed up all hours of the night reading. Even with dementia, she still kept reading and kept a stash of books by her bed with bookmarks in each one while living in a skilled nursing facility up until the day before her passing. That love of reading has also been passed down to her family as well.

Most importantly, Martha was a faithful Christian with a quiet spirit. For most of her life she was always active in her church volunteering, singing in the choir, or cooking for an event or on the vestry or session or in a women’s group or bible study. While in the Episcopal Church was part of the Altar Guild or vestry for several years. She also volunteered at the local food bank in Athens.

Martha led an amazing and interesting life and impacted her family in a positive way with her strong work ethic, deep commitment to family, friends, and all who knew her. She definitely had strong opinions which she was not shy about telling you and she did not sugar coat those at all. Ultimately, she loved life to the fullest, loved and cherished family and friends (old and new) with all her heart.

Martha was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Walter (Bill) William Utzman, Sr.; all 7 of her siblings who are Vernon Coleman, Mildred Gandy, H.P. (Bo) Coleman, Christine Coleman, Wiley Monroe Coleman, Charles Coleman, and Alice Ann Bond.

Martha is survived by her children: son-Walter William Utzman, Jr. and wife Joanne of Massapequa, New York; daughter-Julie Ann (Utzman) Murray and husband Thomas Holt Murray, III of Kerrville, Texas; granddaughter-Katie Grace Murray of Kerrville, Texas; her sister-in-law Betty Berryman Coleman of Mineral Wells, Texas; and 3 step grandchildren that sadly Martha did not have the pleasure of getting to know due to her illness- Andrew Goldblatt of Massapequa, New York; Emily Goldblatt of Worster, Massachusetts, and Jacklyn Goldblatt of Arlington, Virginia. Martha is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Funeral arrangements include: Visitation at Grimes Funeral Chapels in Kerrville, Texas on Thursday, May 11, 2023 from 5pm to 7pm. Funeral Service at Neal Funeral Home in Cleveland, Texas at 10am, Saturday, May 13, 2023. Graveside at Splendora Cemetery.

Martha’s family would like to thank several people for being a part of her care giving over the past couple of years. Especially, Cynthia Flores, Rachel Silva, and Jasmine. Also, thank you to Brenda Whitaker and all the staff at 220 Harper Road Assisted Living for all the care and love you showed Mom. Thank you to the staff of Riverhills Health and Rehab. for taking good care of Martha as well. Finally, thank you to mom’s neighbors Aimee and Eddy Fite, Mike Springer, Joe Abrigo, Carolyn “Happy” Fawcett, and Lisa Desilets. Each of you has been there for our family in so many ways and taking up the slack when we couldn’t be there to help Martha directly.

Condolences may be sent at

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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