Martha Cashel McCarthy 1935-2020


Martha Cashel McCarthy (better known as Marnie) was born in Worthington, MN on November 13, 1935, to Theodora (Tedo) and Charles Cashel. One of the defining experiences of her life occurred only ten years and a world war later, when, through the Minneapolis Tribune, Marnie received the name of her new pen pal, Kerttu, a girl her age in Finland. Upon discovering that her new friend had only paper shoes, Marnie enlisted the help of her brother, Mike, and a school friend, and set out that afternoon to collect shoes for her pen pal and her family. In only a few hours of knocking on doors in Worthington, they collected 22 pairs of shoes. Inspired by this generous act, Marnie’s parents pursued a larger plan: to establish a relationship with an entire town in need of support and rebuilding after the war. With the help of the US State Department, the town of Crailsheim, Germany was selected in 1947. In the following years, Marnie, her family, and the generous people of Worthington sent shipping containers full of badly needed clothes, shoes, crop seeds, and household goods to Crailsheim’s people. This began a sister city partnership with cultural, educational, and personal exchanges that continue today between Crailsheim and Worthington. Her visits to Crailsheim and Worthington and her strong support for the student exchange program in particular helped fuel the partnership over the years, and brought her many dear friends. In recognition of her role in the partnership, the city of Crailsheim honored Marnie by naming both a street and a school for her.

In 1953 Marnie departed Worthington for Bryan Mawr College, then transferred to the University of Minnesota two years later to continue her work toward a degree in anthropology. While studying the human condition, she met fellow student, Bill McCarthy, of Minneapolis. She graduated and they married in 1957, and during the next six years they hatched a flock of four children. Marnie became a ceramic artist in the 1960s, and in 1974, with a station wagon full of kids, critters, and dreams, they moved from Minneapolis to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1977 she and Bill opened Santa Fe Clay Co., and Marnie quickly became involved with the Santa Fe arts community both as an artist and as an appreciator of fine craft. She taught ceramics at Santa Fe Prep School and continued her own work as a ceramist. Her clay nativities, and chess sets inspired by the colonial history of New Mexico, became her greatest source of artistic pride,

All her life Marnie found joy in the outdoors, and was a committed birder, watercolorist, reading mentor to schoolchildren in Santa Fe, and a loving and loyal friend. When she was a child her family began spending summers on Lake L’Homme Dieu in Alexandria, MN, and Marnie and Bill continued their pilgrimages to the lake nearly every summer. She didn’t know that the summer of 2019 would be her final one in a place that was as much home to her as anywhere on earth.

Marnie passed away peacefully on May 28, 2020. In addition to heart-broken friends far and wide, her survivors include her ever-loving husband, Bill, and four children: son Dan McCarthy of Santa Fe (with wife Annie), and three daughters: Sarah McCarthy Madrid of Denver, CO (with husband Peter Adams), Molly McCarthy of Pollensa, Mallorca (with husband Henry Lacy), and Laura McCarthy of Denver, as well as seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Mike Cashel of Chevy Chase, MD, with wife Pat Earl and two daughters. Because flowers fade and our planet shouldn’t, the family requests that any remembrances be made as donations to the Nature Conservancy (

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