The Apache Junction and Gold Canyon community was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Marta Saint-James last week. Marta is remembered as a loving friend to two- and four-legged creatures alike and will be missed for her easy laugh, passionate advocacy and ready-to-help presence.
In a message posted by her family, Marta was credited with starting the Gold Canyon DOG (Dog Owners Group), which helped hundreds of people reunite with their lost dogs through her website and organization.
Along with her husband and constant companion Curt Fonger, Marta served with the Superstition Search and Rescue team and supported the K-9 units of the Pinal County Sheriffs Office and Apache Junction Police Department. “She raised money for ballistic vests, bite suits and heat sensors,” her family said. “Marta would do anything to help her dogs in service stay safe.
“Both Curt and Marta loved to fundraise and support Paws & Claws of Apache Junction,” the message continued. “Their favorite event was ‘Santapaws,’ where they would take photos of dogs and their humans for a donation to benefit Paws & Claws of AJ.”
There has been an outpouring of reminiscences, sympathy and love on social media. Dawn wrote “She was truly an angel here on earth, and her gentle spirit and compassionate, kind and generous soul will be sorely missed by me, among many others, as well as the entire canine world.”
“I knew Marta through ADOBE, and she was always giving her all to whatever she was volunteering with,” wrote Eleanore. “She was one giving human being.”
“I have so many fond memories of her tireless work to make Gold Canyon a better place,” wrote Lucy. “She inspired me to do more. I will miss her enthusiasm and her optimism. There is no doubt in my mind that Cody and Kramer [Marta’s dogs] are jumping for joy to have Marta back with them again. I hope the many happy memories of Marta provide comfort to Curt and her family. She truly had a life well-lived.”
Marta’s family said that she was diagnosed in July with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and passed away peacefully, with her family by her bedside on August 23rd.
Her family is asking to please make a donation to Paws & Claws of Apache Junction instead of cards, food or flowers. “We KNOW that’s what Marta would want.” A GoFundMe page has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/marta039s-memorial-fund. 100% of all donations goes directly to Friends of Apache Junction for Paw’s and Claw’s Animal Shelter.
“We, her family, believe that Marta did not go to People Heaven; she went to Doggie Heaven. In our hearts and in our minds, she has crossed the rainbow bridge and has been reunited with her Golden’s, Cody and Kramer.”
Photo above: Marta Saint-James, a loving friend to both two- and four-legged creatures, passed away on August 23. Photo by Curt Fonger