Martha Sturm

Monday, October 19, 2009

Martha "Marti" Sturm, 65, of Cape Girardeau passed away Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009, at her home.

Marti was born Jan. 5, 1944, in Cape Girardeau, to Ferdinand Nicholas and Ruth Estes Sturm.

She attended elementary school and high school in Dexter, Mo., where she graduated in 1962, having not only earned her diploma, but she also created lifelong friendships. These friendships brought her great joy and comfort throughout her life and tremendous peace, love and laughter during her courageous battle with cancer.

She attended Baptist Memorial School of Nursing in Memphis Tenn., and graduated as an RN specializing in behavioral medicine in 1965.

She spent the majority of her professional career working at Saint Francis Medical Center. During her 23 years there, she served as the director of the Mental Health Unit, opened and served as director of The Franciscan Program, an alcohol and drug treatment facility later renamed Saint Francis Center for Recovery. She served as the employee assistance coordinator, providing individual and group counseling services as well as conducting numerous workshops for employees ranging from team-building to assertiveness training.

She loved people and loved being able to help them through difficult times in their lives, thinking nothing of being awakened in the middle of the night to go to the side of a friend, employee, patient or complete stranger to offer her support.

She worked with the Missouri Physicians Health Program, serving as group and individual counselor to physicians recovering from addiction.

She held numerous nursing, counseling and leadership certifications and licenses. She was certified in psychiatric nursing and substance abuse counseling.

She was also a member of several local and national organizations including Zonta Club International, the American Nurses Association and Safe Kids Organization, and was a mental health assistant for the police department.

She was a member of Abbey Road Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, and served as chairman of the stewardship campaign, worship committee and revitalization committee.

Survivors include her life companion, Shirleen Sexton; other family members, Carl and Rebecca Backfisch of Benton, Kevin and Shana Lacey of Scott City, Craig and Charlotte Murphy of Whiteman Air Force Base in Galveston, Texas, Greg and Jill Welter of Cape Girardeau, Albert and Connie Sturm of San Jose, Calif., Elnir Fulkerson of Rockford, Ill., Jeanette Estes of Cape Girardeau; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Michael Estes Sturm.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Chapel.

Memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Abbey Road Christian Church, with the Rev. Rodger Kiepe officiating.

Entombment will follow in Cape County Memorial Park Mausoleum.

Memorials may be made to Abbey Road Christian Church, the Humane Society or a charity of the giver's choice.

Online condolences may be made at