A Community Farewell to Martha Atwater

Mourners overflowed Grace Church on Friday afternoon to bid farewell to Martha Carr Atwater, killed Friday, February 22 when a truck jumped the curb at the corner Clinton and Atlantic Avenues, striking her.

Atwater, 48, lived on Remsen Street with her husband Tom and two daughters, Chloe and Olivia; an Emmy-award winning television writer and producer, she produced such television shows as “Clifford The Big Red Dog” and “Goosebumps.”  She also served on the board of directors of the Brooklyn Heights Association, and in February 2011, she launched her own blog, Desperately Seeking Jon Stewart.

According to her obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Atwater’s “work credo” was “fast, funny, flexible,” and it was those characteristics, along with her generosity, kindness, creativity, and passion that were remembered yesterday at Grace Church.

“God’s creative imagination was working overtime the day Martha was made,” observed Reverend Stephen D. Muncie, who gave the homily.

“She was a star,” said her sister Sarah Atwater Mayer, “a vibrant superstar, almost blinding with her boundless energy.”

Hundreds attended the service in celebration of Atwater’s life, standing in the aisles and along the back of the church, taxing the church’s capacity, and Mayer acknowledged those who had supported the Atwater this week, saying, “I want to thank this amazing community that has enveloped us in your protective and loving arms.”

Acknowledging that it’s not “possible to make sense of Martha’s tragic death,” Mayer noted that “stars shine brightest when their energy is released into the cosmos, resulting in an explosion of light and energy.”

She continued, “As dawn arrives, and we are no longer able to see the stars, you know they are still there.”

A friend wrote on Facebook last night, “Just realized that missing Martha is going to be as bad as losing Martha.”

Atwater’s niece Kathleen Perrin Atwater said that her aunt’s motto was, “just be kind,” a motto embodied in her indefatigable commitment to her family, her community, her work, and her volunteer efforts.  The service closed with “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” Henry Van Dyke’s 1907 poem set to the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, a fitting tribute to the woman who brought joy to so many people, for far too short a time.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to The Packer Collegiate Institute in Atwater’s memory.

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