Martha L. (Lappen) Pfeiffer, 67, of Stow, Massachusetts, passed away at her home on Wednesday October 4, 2023, surrounded by family. She was the beloved wife of James Pfeiffer and dedicated mother of son Max. Martha’s determination to live fully despite a diagnosis of cancer has been an inspiration to family and friends alike.
Martha was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of the late John and Joan (Fox) Lappen. She grew up in Simsbury, Connecticut, graduating from Simsbury High School in 1974. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College in 1978. After college Martha moved to Boston to pursue a career in publishing and marketing, and worked with textbook publishers Addison Wesley, Little, Brown and Company, and Houghton Mifflin, among others. Her most recent professional efforts at N2Y focused on the promotion of curricula designed for teachers and their students with complex learning needs.
Martha took pleasure in many hobbies and interests throughout her life. A skilled athlete, she excelled at downhill and cross-country skiing, tennis, bicycling, and hiking. She was an accomplished cook, avid reader, and passionate follower (and sometimes critic) of presidential and congressional politics. Martha was also a dedicated gardener who transformed the grounds surrounding the family’s home in Stow into a beautiful garden landscape that was a central source of enjoyment for the family.
Martha loved nature and became an astute observer of the habits and habitats of birds and other wildlife. The Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to their home has played a vital role in Martha and Jim’s life together, offering them ongoing opportunities for walking, observing wildlife, and contemplation. Martha became a talented wildlife photographer. Her striking images capturing the courting, nesting, feeding, and fledging rituals of birds and the behavior of other wildlife have delighted her many Facebook and email followers.
Martha will also be remembered for her love of music and beautiful singing voice. During and after college she performed folk music with friends at concerts, coffeehouses, clubs, and weddings. After moving to Stow, Martha became an enthusiastic member of the Sounds of Stow Chorus, where, in addition to singing in the soprano section, she contributed her skills to marketing and promoting the group’s concerts. She also looked forward each year to singing with friends in the chorus of annual holiday performances of The Messiah.
Martha loved to travel with her family and friends. Her favorite destinations included Europe (especially France), Cape Breton, Colorado, and all New England states, among others. Martha had a particularly strong connection with Vermont following her time studying at Middlebury and living in Hinesburg with Jim and Max while working as marketing and public relations director for Burlington’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. They regularly returned to Vermont to visit friends.
Martha is survived by her loving husband James Pfeiffer of Stow; her son Max Pfeiffer of Stow; her brothers John Lappen and his wife Mary Piasecki of New Harbor, Maine, Richard Lappen and his wife Janet of Broomfield, Colorado, and Stephen Lappen and his partner Hunter Margolf of Boulder, Colorado; her stepdaughters Madelyne Pfeiffer and her husband Charles Park II of Colares, Portugal, and Gretchen Pfeiffer and her husband Ross Hardwick of Kailua, Hawaii; her nephew Alex Lappen of Chelsea, Massachusetts; her nieces Sarah Lappen of Boston, Massachusetts, Caitlin Lappen and her children Claire and Peyton of Thornton, Colorado, and Hannah Lappen of Denver, Colorado; as well as other family members and many friends.
The family would like to thank Martha’s oncology team at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, especially Dr. Elizabeth Buchbinder and Marianne Tawa, RN, MSN, ANP, for their tireless care and determination to help Martha follow her passions.
A celebration of Martha’s life will be held at a later date to be announced. At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, contributions in Martha’s memory may be made to the Sounds of Stow ( http://soundsofstow.org/donate ), the Massachusetts Audubon Society ( http://massaudubon.org/donate ) or a charity of one’s choice.