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Judith Martin, wife of Stamford mayor, loses battle with cancer

November 11, 2016 GMT

STAMFORD — Judith Martin, the wife of Mayor David Martin and an educator in the city’s public schools, died Thursday following a battle with cancer.

“It is with immense sadness that we inform the public of the passing of Judith Martin, the mayor’s wife and a teacher at Northeast Elementary School in Stamford. Mrs. Martin passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer. We ask that you keep the mayor and his family in your prayers,” reads a statement from the mayor’s office.

Martin was also executive director of Starfish Connection, a nonprofit she founded with her husband that provides long-term academic support for students from low-income families. Starfish mentors students over 10 years, from third grade until they graduate high school.

Before becoming a teacher, Martin spent 20 years working in strategic planning, human resources and marketing for companies including Pitney Bowes and ConRail. She was a reading teacher at Northeast for 14 years.

“Education is certainly foremost on my mind as a teacher in Stamford,” she said at her husband’s 2013 swearing-in ceremony. “That’s where my focus has been and continues to be.”

Janet Schneider, a former assistant principal at Westover Magnet Elementary School, took over as executive director of Starfish Connection last month.

“She allowed us to share in her amazing dream and she knew that we could each make a difference,” Schneider said.

“Not too many people cross your path in life that were like her,” she said. “She was a combination of a friend and my hero.”

In 2014, Martin was recognized by the Stamford Public Education Foundation at its Excellence in Education Awards.

“The Stamford community has suffered a great loss today with the passing of Judy Martin,” Superindent of Schools Earl Kim said in a statement. “She will be greatly missed by her students, fellow staff members and administration. Our condolences go out to Mayor Martin and to all those whose life she touched.”

Martin and her husband — who has been mayor since 2014 — were married for 34 years and moved to Stamford in 1981. They have two daughters, Sarah and Rachel, both graduates of Westhill High School.

Mary Smith, a retired teacher at Northeast, worked alongside Martin at the school and as a mentor at her nonprofit.

“It’s a great program,” Smith said. “Mrs. Martin was excellent at choosing the right families and the right children and matching them with mentors.”

Last month, Starfish Connection honored Martin with a celebration at the Stamford Government Center that also recogznied its first graduating class.

“We were all just together two Sudays ago,” Schneider said, “and we were all commenting on how much love could possibly fit in one room. It all comes from her. She started these connections.”

eskalka@scni.com