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Martha Bair Steinbock ’71

December 8, 2019, in Olney, Maryland, of neuroendocrine cancer.

Martha was born in Eureka, California, and grew up on a ranch near Arcata. She completed high school in Rio Linda, near Sacramento, and attended Reed, where she met and married Joseph Steinbock ’69.

“Meeting Martha was without question my most valuable and long-lasting reward for attending Reed,” John said. “Martha was a far better student than I, so it was in one sense unfortunate that she dropped out to marry me and depart Portland.”

After the birth of her two eldest daughters, Sophia and Lillian, Martha returned to school and received a BA in history from Portland State University. Following the birth of her third daughter, Rose, Martha earned an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She went on to a distinguished career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rising to deputy chief of Technology Transfer Programs. Her career included work at the Agricultural Research Service office in Albany, California, and with United Nations agencies such as the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. For 15 years, she served as executive secretary of the United States/European Union Working Group on Biotechnology. After retiring in 2009, Martha devoted herself to her seven grandchildren and politics, particularly the 2012 reelection of President Barack Obama. She is survived by her husband; her daughters, Sophia Steinbock, Lillian Steinbock, and Rose Alvarez; and her sisters, Mary Paita and Rebecca Kurwitz.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2020

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