113 E. Aurora Street
Ironwood, MI 49938
Map & Directions
Wed, Thur, & Fri:
Noon - 4:30pm
109 E. Aurora Street
Ironwood, MI 49938
(Two doors west of the main theatre entrance)
Operation of the Historic Ironwood Theatre is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Published on Friday, May. 15, 2015
On Wednesday May 13, 2015, long time Theatre volunteer and employee, Helen Martin, passed away at age 90. When the City of Ironwood acquired the Theatre in 1983, Helen was the very first employee of the then newly-formed, Ironwood Theatre Preservation Committee, which later became the Ironwood Theatre, Inc. Helen was the Theatre’s office manager and bookkeeper, and later joined the theatre’s board of directors where she served as board treasurer. When she retired as a paid employee, her commitment to the theatre was such that, in her words “…the day I retired was the day I proudly became a full-time theatre volunteer!”
Helen’s friend and 1980s Theatre compatriot, Joan Borcherdt gives Helen much of the credit for the successful saving, restoration and continuing operation of the theatre. “There was a small but committed group of volunteers, busily raising money and awareness as we set out to engage the community in the process of bringing the theatre back to life – there was a lot of energy being invested, but without Helen’s steady hand on the tiller, and ‘can-do’ attitude towards getting things done, I’m not so sure that we would have achieved as much as we did” said Borcherdt recently.
Current theatre Manager Bruce Greenhill fondly remembers a couple of visits with her. “When I met Helen a few years ago my first impression was that she was an elegant and classy lady, but that she wasn’t somebody to be trifled with. And she always had a twinkle in her eye”. That impression was borne out by other who knew her, all of whom spoke of her quiet determination and the class with which she conducted herself in any situation.
“The other thing that impressed me was her memory for people, places and events” said Greenhill – even more remarkable when you consider the pain and discomfort that were her constant companions in her latter years”.
As a civilian employee of various branches of US military, in her younger days, Helen traveled the world, working in California, in Europe and in Japan. But her favorite time in life was when she was an employee and volunteer at the Historic Ironwood Theatre.
Rest in Peace, Helen. And thank you for the gift you gave this community.