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Obituaries

Martha Earley; Helped Establish Sun Valley Church

February 25, 2001

Martha Irene Casper Earley, 102, who helped found Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Sun Valley. Born Oct. 19, 1898, in Muncie, Ind., she moved to the San Fernando Valley in 1921, four years after marrying Cletus J. Earley. In 1937, shortly after her husband had opened his plumbing business on Sunland Boulevard, two priests asked if the Earleys would host Sunday Mass there while a new church was being built. The Earleys welcomed parishioners every week for nearly a year until Holy Rosary was completed. The couple also assisted with the construction. Later, Martha Earley taught catechism classes and helped organize the church's annual festival, at which she sold her handmade quilts. In 1995, three decades after her husband's death, Martha Earley received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Gold Medal from Pope John Paul II for her lifelong efforts for the Catholic Church. On Feb. 12 in Van Nuys of heart failure.

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