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Martha Mae "Marti" Milani

MARTHA MAE 'MARTI' MILANI
Iowa City

Martha Mae "Marti" Milani, 84, of Iowa City, passed away peacefully at her home on April 4, 2020.
Martha was born May 23, 1935, in Centerville, Iowa, to George and Alice (McCabe) Milani, the second of four children. She grew up in Centerville, where she graduated high school. She married in 1955 and had two sons before the couple divorced.
Marti earned her B.A. in English literature from the University of Miami in Florida before moving back to Iowa City. While residing in Iowa City, she put herself through graduate school by, among other things, taking in sewing projects — projects supplied by a burgeoning feminist movement that she became part of. Eventually, she received her M.A. and Ph.D in adult education from the University of Iowa. Marti began her career as the first teacher hired at Kirkwood Community College (Area 10) in 1967 and was the coordinator of the Adult Learning Center in Iowa City — a position she held until she retired in 1998. During this time she also worked as an adjunct professor for the University of Iowa in the College of Education. She put her heart into teaching and ensuring that adults had learning opportunities.
After retirement, she began a lawn-tending business. Harkening back to her days as a young graduate student, she hired mostly young women who needed help. "Marti's Gardening Angels," they called themselves.
Among her many talents, Marti was an accomplished dancer, something she learned when she danced on the drum as a member of the UI Scottish Highlanders. She also was a meditator, an early yoga adopter, a student of Eastern mysticism before it was the rage, and held an unwavering commitment to social justice and to the earth. She contained multitudes, but teaching and tending the soil always grounded her. In turn, she grounded many others. Her large dining room table was the setting for numerous amateur therapy sessions and loads of laughter. For those who were lucky enough to enter it, Marti's world was one of light, growth, generosity, enthusiasm, spirit and strength.
Marti's soul was set to the changing seasons. "It will pass," she would tell her many mentees when they came to her with a problem and with pain. And with her help, it always did.
Marti's spirit lives on within her many friends and neighbors, and with her two sons, whom she loved dearly: Jeff Ribble of Iowa City, Iowa, and Phil Ribble and his wife Liddie of Riverside, Iowa. She also is survived by a brother, James Milani of Centerville, Iowa; and a sister, Mary Naso of Fort Myers, Fla.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Bill Milani; and sister-in-law, Mary Milani.
The family would like to thank Iowa City Hospice.
A celebration of Marti's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Trees Forever or Kirkwood Community College Foundation, Marti Milani Fund.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.lensingfuneral.com.
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