Born a “Stitch Girl” in Duncan Oklahoma 94 years ago, Martha Lee Stitch-Sugg’s life revolved around her family. Being a Stitch girl meant you were born into a formidable, stubborn, stoic, proud set of women who lived long, successful lives. No question – Martha Lee was all of that. Small in stature, but big in heart, singing voice and sports enthusiasm – one could never overestimate Martha Lee “Stitch” Sugg.
She married Everett Lee Sugg in Enid Oklahoma before moving to Denver in 1950 where Lee became one of the first State Farm Insurance agents in Colorado. After a career of singing and playing piano, she became a stay at home Mom with her three boys; Philip Martin, followed by twins, Craig Ross and Monte Kent. Later, she became ‘Grandma’ to Sylve, Lucas, Summer, Brigita, Weston and Brandon Sugg.
Boulder has been her home since moving there in 1961 from Denver when her husband Lee was made the State Farm Insurance Manager of the Boulder Valley. She and Lee were avid CU Buffalo fans supporting the Buff Club Scholarship Fund and having season tickets for decades to both the football and basketball programs.
While her love of family came first, art and sports were her passion. Martha Lee loved to talk sports with anyone knowledgeable enough to listen and share. Martha Lee’s beautiful soprano voice could be heard when performing with the Jubilate singers of Boulder. She co-owned and helped operate Eclipse Gallery at 10th and Pearl St. in Boulder from 1978 to 1985 where she was instrumental in curating over 30 art gallery events featuring rare, vintage 19th and early 20th century photographic art from the world’s greatest photographers. Most of those photographs are now in museums and private collections around the world and many of the shows she helped curate at Eclipse in Boulder were important, historic, one of a kind exhibitions which would be impossible to replicate today.
Additionally, for many years she was an avid community organizer working with the Denver affiliate of the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago. She traveled on their behalf to cities around the country helping to conduct workshops designed to explore and implement programs to uplift each community she and the institute sought to enable.
Martha Lee believed whole-heartedly in the power of celebration and enjoyed gathering with her family for special events and birthdays throughout the years, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. She was truly a strong willed, dedicated, and kind family matriarch, always supporting her family with a strong positive mindset.
She was a bright Light and will be missed by all of us.
Martha Lee Sugg, along with her husband, were friends of the ICA Colorado for many years. John and I encountered them in the 1980’s when we were co-directors of the Denver ICA and became life-long personal friends of the Suggs as well. Martha Lee was quite active in organizing Town Meetings in the 1970’s and she and I teamed up to organize several women’s events in Denver among other things. She died in January and her memorial service was yesterday, attended by four of us from Denver who knew and loved her. Her family decided to make ICA USA the sole recipient of donations in memory of their mother and grandmother.
~~ Ann Epps
Our deepest condolences to the family of Martha Lee; we know everyone who knew her and loved her will miss her wonderful countenance and friendship. We knew Martha Lee, and her late husband Lee, very well during the mid-70s and beyond. Their dedication to church and community renewal brought them into support and involvement with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, with which we were associated in Denver. They were instrumental in organizing and leading the Town Meeting ’76 program throughout Colorado, mostly in small towns. Martha Lee went with Charlene to Hawaii in 1977 and they facilitated meetings on the four major islands. A lasting memory for us is after we had re-located to Tucson, we got a call from Martha Lee one late December. They were coming to the Fiesta Bowl to watch the University of Colorado football team and wanted us to share it with them. Our first house-warmer was a beautiful wind chime they gave us for our portico. She was truly a moving presence in our lives and we will miss her greatly.
~~ Gary and Charlene Forbes