Rebecca Popoff Martin

Age 59 died in her sleep at her home in Lansing on July 24, 2012.  She was born December 18, 1952 to Donald and Metta (O’Dell) Popoff.  Rebecca was the oldest in a family of nine children.  From the moment of birth, Rebecca’s irrepressible free spirit captivated and challenged all those who loved her.

A gifted artist, she was never more focused or joyful than when painting, drawing, or printmaking.  She was passionate in every creative endeavor be it a large painted mural, lithograph, handmade card, or signs for her son’s school carnival.  She leaves behind for her family and friends to cherish countless pieces of beautiful artwork.  Rebecca was an avid walker her entire life and was often easily recognized by her distinctive, galloping stride.  Her storytelling of real events was so engaging and humorous it rarely mattered to the listener what was truth and what was embellishment.  And often, what one thought must be embellishment turned out to be truth.

Following the birth of her son George, Rebecca began a long period of service to others.  She dedicated countless hours to improving her South Lansing neighborhood, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, Pleasant View Elementary School and working with and advocating for families during many years of employment at the Ingham County Health Department.  In addition, her enthusiasm for holiday lawn decor will be remembered and missed.  Along with creating her own festive displays, she honored the efforts of others, often leaving anonymous notes of praise in strangers’ mailboxes throughout the city.

In 1998, Rebecca married Tom Martin and together with Rebecca’s son, George and Tom’s daughter, Margaret, they formed a new family.  Tom remained Rebecca’s loving companion until her death.

Rebecca shared her life with Tom, her parents, her many siblings, her large extended family and many friends.  They all loved and will miss her dearly.  She leaves many cherished nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and cousins, who will no doubt hear her many stories retold as family lore and legend.  She held a special place in her heart for her youngest nephew, Kyle Gunger.

Rebecca was preceded in death by her son, George and it gives great comfort to her family to envision them now as reunited.  Rebecca will be remembered in a private ceremony.  Condolences and memories to the family are welcomed at

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12 Messages to “Rebecca Popoff Martin

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Denise Fandrick
July 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I couldn’t have written a better story of my friend, Rebecca. I have many of her little handmade cards and specially selected gifts and I will keep them always. I wanted to know her untill we were both little old ladies and I am honored that she considered me a friend.

Curt Brockhaus
July 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I will remember Becky. I remember growing up across the street – the friends (of) and the oldest Popoffs reflecting on the Vietnam war. That is one thing I’ll never forget…

Rich & Bobbie Snow
July 27, 2012 at 6:23 am

Tom, We are so sorry to hear about Rebecca. Our thoughts & prayers are with you, friend.

Kelly Cline
July 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

I worked with Rebecca for many years. I am so very sad to hear that she is no longer with us. However, she will live on in our memories. Rebecca is truly unforgettable. What a lovely tribute to her life. I loved to listen to Rebecca’s stories and am deeply sorry that I wil not have the opportunity again in this life time. She will be missed by all who knew her, even if we had not seen her in some time. My condolences and prayers go out to all of her family and friends.

Kelly Cline
July 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

What a lovely tribute to Rebecca. I worked with Rebecca for many years and loved to listen to her stories. When I heard of her passing, I immediatly pictured her striding through the halls on her way to assist a family in need. She truly touched the hearts of all who knew her. My condolences and prayers go out to all of her family and friends.

Anne-Marie & Demi Del Monico
July 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

Dear Aunt Metta and Uncle Don, I new Becky since I could walk. When I was little she was sooo cool and happy and would let me “hang” out with her during the graduation parties at your home. ALL my memories of Becky were of such happy times. Demi and I will keep ya’ll in our thoughts and prayers. If there’s anything we can do/help out with please let us know. We love you Uncle Don & Aunt Metta!! Demi & Anne-Marie Nickoff-Del Monico

Roy & Wendy O'Dell
July 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Metta, Don and family,

We are deeply saddened to learn of Becky’s passing. We will remember her genial disposition and exuberence for life. She was truly one of a kind.
If we can be of any help, in any way, please don’t hesitate to let us know. With loving thoughts and prayers…

Wendy & Roy

Linda M. Granger
July 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Even though I have not seen Rebecca since high school, I have many fond memories of her in school and sitting in catechism classes together. I will never forget her absolutely beautiful eyes and beautiful smile. I am sorry I never got to “hang” with her once we were out of high school. My sincere condolences to her family. She sounds like she was a wonderful person who truly listened to her heart and lived from there. Linda

Jane Fabiano-Turner
July 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

So sorry to hear about Becky. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

David L. Kleersnyder & Jim Coburn
July 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.
We both remember Becky when she was young and we worked together at the family business with Don, Metta, Donna and all the boys. What great and simpler times back then.
God be with you.
David and Jim

Cathy Everling
July 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

My condolences to Rebecca’s family. I worked with Rebecca at the Ingham County Health Department and I will never forgot her joyful and positive attitude. She always had a smile that you could see coming from a mile away and she was eager to help anyone who needed assistance. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of loss.

Carleen Martiny Schmitz
August 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I grew up in St. Gerard area neighborhood where having the Popoffs in the neighborhood always meant there was someone around to talk or play or walk or stay over night! The whole family is great. Becky will greatly be missed I can almost still hear her stories. I hope that God can heal and help hold the special memories that each one of the family members have. And twenty five years later I am still living on another street next to a great Popoff family. Love Hope and Peace for you all.


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