Longtime local businesswoman 'Martie' Messer dies at age 92

She was the first president of the area's Multiple Listing Service

By Craig Brown, Columbian metro editor

Published:

 
photoMartva "Martie" H. Messer

Martva "Martie" H. Messer, a longtime local businesswoman who was the first president of the local Multiple Listing Service, died Dec. 14. She was 92 years old.

Messer was among the wave of people who came to Clark County during the World War II shipyard boom and stayed after V-J Day. Born in Denver on Feb. 2, 1920, she grew up in South Dakota. After the war broke out, she relocated to Vancouver from San Francisco, along with her parents, her husband, Forney O. Messer, and her young son, Eugene.

Her first job was with the federal housing authority, which formed during the war to construct and manage housing for the thousands of Kaiser Shipyard workers. She worked for the housing authority, later the Vancouver Housing Authority, for 14 years, said Eugene Messer.

Her next job was as a loan officer and loan department manager at First Federal Savings and Loan Association in Hazel Dell. She later worked as the right of way agent for the state Department of Highways, securing land for the widening of Interstate 5 from the Interstate Bridge through Vancouver.

Afterward she opened Messer Realty, which she operated until she retired. Eugene Messer said she was the first president of the MLS, a cooperative that lists all local properties for sale that are represented by real estate agencies.

A lifelong Democrat, she ran unsuccessfully for county auditor and county clerk. She was president of the local chapter of Altrusa International, an association for women in business, and was active in Eastern Star, the American Scandinavian Foundation and many other community groups.

In 1982, she received an award for her volunteer work from the Cooperative Arts Council and Clark College's Focus on Mature Learning for, among other things, coordinating all of the holiday decorations at Portland's Pittock Mansion.

Survivors include her son, Eugene, of Vancouver. A celebration of life will be held 2 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.