obituary header
Welcome to the memorial page for

Martha Elizabeth (Bolton) Agler

October 4, 1911 ~ April 4, 2017 (age 105)

Martha Elizabeth Bolton Agler, 105. Born October 4, 1911, Iowa Falls, Iowa; passed on to her Heavenly reward April 4, 2017 at Columbus, Ohio after a century of devotion to her family, community and faith.  Martha was the only child of the Rev. Harley and Luella (Davis) Bolton. She demonstrated from an early age a strong intellect and a profound religious conviction that led her through a lifetime journey of achievement and service.   She had a particular interest and focus in the area of early childhood education and worked throughout her life to improve the educational system and the lives of children everywhere. At the time of her death, Martha was the oldest living graduate of Rutland High School, Meigs County, Ohio.  She graduated in 1928 at the age of 16 as the class salutatorian and President, and was the author of the school song. She then attended Ohio University where she received a Diploma in Kindergarten-Primary Education and began her career in public education in Rutland.  She subsequently received a B.S. in Education in 1943 and a M.A in early childhood education in 1972, both from The Ohio State University. During the darkest period of the Great Depression she went to work for the Federal WPA Nursery School Program, rising to the rank of Assistant State Supervisor. In this position, she was instrumental in saving numerous children in Ohio from the ravages of malnutrition and developmental disabilities that were widespread at the time.  With the end of this program at the start of World War II, she began her family and raised 4 children in Grandview Heights and Marble Cliff, Ohio.  During this time, she was an active community leader with the Camp Fire Girls, Cub Scouts, PTA, Grandview Garden club and other organizations.  She was elected to the Grandview Heights School Board in 1958 and served as its President for 9 years.  She was appointed by the Governor of Ohio to the State Board of Education in 1974 representing the 15th Congressional District and was subsequently elected to a full term, serving until 1982.  In 1983, she was appointed by the Governor to the Board of Trustees of the Columbus State Community College, serving until 1991.  Upon her departure that year, she was granted Emeritus Trustee status in recognition of her lifetime of work in early childhood education and her efforts in the creation of the College’s child development center and learning lab. Martha was married for 51 years to Columbus Attorney L. Dewitt Agler, who predeceased her in 1982.  After his death, she became a winter resident of Naples, Florida where she continued her interests in education by working as a volunteer tutor in the local elementary schools as well as teaching English as a second language classes.  An active member of Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church, she held leadership positions and taught Bible study classes well into her 90’s. She drove a car until she was 94. During these years she was also able to indulge her love of travel and experiencing cultures of the world.  She literally traveled to all corners of the earth, making friends wherever she went.  She truly never met a stranger. Above all, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren remember her as a loving and nurturing figure.  She was the heart and soul of our family, connecting and holding us together through the years.  A prolific letter writer, no birthday went unnoticed; no achievement was overlooked.  She is survived by her 4 children: Nancy (John) Robbins, Monroe, Ohio; Alice Eichman, Hyattsville, Maryland; Alan (Rosetta) Agler, Galloway, Ohio; and Alfred (Carol) Agler, Grandview Heights, Ohio; and numerous grand, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren. A celebration of her extraordinary life will be held at Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1235 Northwest Blvd, Grandview Heights, Ohio 43212 on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 2:00 P.M.  A reception will follow the service. Private family interment. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her memory to the Martha B. Agler Scholarship Fund for Early Childhood Education in care of the Columbus State Community College Foundation, 550 E. Spring St. Columbus, Ohio 43215 or Boulevard Presbyterian Church or to the charity of your choice.

the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.                                                                                                 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Online condolences may be made at 

Charitable donations may be made to:

Boulevard Presbyterian Church
1235 Northwest Blvd., Columbus OH 43212
Tel: 1-614-486-0267

Martha B. Agler Scholarship Fund for Early Childhood Education
c/o Columbus State Community College Foundation; 550 E. Spring Street, Columbus OH 43215

 Service Information

Memorial Service
April 8, 2017

2:00 PM
Boulevard Presbyterian Church
1235 Northwest Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43212

© 2018 Deyo-Davis Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS