Maria Martinez, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, passed away peacefully at ninety-six years old in her home of natural causes, surrounded by her loving family, caregiver, and loyal dogs.
Maria had an indomitable spirit and flair for style and adventure. Maria was originally from El Salvador, Central America. A daughter of Coffee plantation owners, she attended a Catholic Boarding School in San Salvador and played on an international traveling basketball team in high school. She attended the University of San Salvador and received a degree in education. Upon graduation, Maria taught grade school and started her family. In 1963 she emigrated to the United States to give her children a “better education and better future.” She originally bought a home in Elmhurst, but after driving through Glen Ellyn, she describes that she “Fell in love with the beautiful Village and the downtownwith church steeples, trees, a cupola with a clock on city hall, and a castle for a school.” She bought a business on Crescent Blvd where she opened Maria’s Beauty Salon. She proudly naturalized and became a United States citizen as soon as possible in 1972 to be a part of what she always believed was “The greatest country in the world.” Maria was forever grateful to the residents of Glen Ellyn, who welcomed her family and supported her business for 37 years.
Maria began working as a wig designerfor her daughter at Pheasant Run Resort, where she designed and styled hundreds of wigs for Chicago actors for over thousands of performances for thirteen years, and it’s there where she made lifelong friends. In 2001 Maria retired and closed her salon and moved to an apartment on Pennsylvania Avenue because she “had to be within walking distance of Downtown Glen Ellyn.”
She painted, collected art, loved animals, fed the birds daily, was a fantastic gardener and life-long learner. She traveled to several European counties throughout her lifetime and watched Rick Steve’s Europe religiously until the day she passed away.
Maria’s family included her children, Anna Maria Nelson, Reyna Bolinger and her husband Janvier Bolinger,Moses Martinez, Diana Martinez, and Grand Daughters, Reyna Larson, Emily Martinez, and Andrea Martinez and her beloved dogs, Lola and Junior.
Visitation will be held at Leonard’s Funeral home, 565 Duane St, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 on Tuesday, January 18 from 10:00AM– 11:00AM with a short service at 11:00AM. Service will be live-streamed via https://www.leonardmemorialhome.com/obituary/Maria-Martinez.
Due to COVID concerns, those attending, are asked to please wear a mask and we regret there will not be a reception following, to keep everyone safe..The service will be followed by a private graveside service at Forest Hill Cemetery in Glen Ellyn, where she will be laid to rest in peace, in the town she loved so much.
Maria requested those she left behind not to be sad, but to “Celebrate and be grateful we knew each other.”
Since Maria was a Cosmetologist, and such a believer in education, we have started a scholarship fund in her name.In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Maria Martinez Cosmetology Scholarship Fund at College of DuPage Foundation.https://foundation.cod.edu/donate/