Marda Fortmann Mayo

marda mayo
Marda Fortmann Mayo

July 5, 1941 - March 19, 2022

On March 19, 2022, just one day before spring’s official start, Marda Fortmann Mayo passed away at the age of 80 after quietly and courageously battling illness for several years. Despite the sadness and shock of the moment, it seems fitting that it was such a stunning spring day. It was the time of year she treasured most, and the explosion of blossoms on flowering trees and the sunshiney daffodils beaming along roadsides seemed to telegraph her eternally bright, cheerful, optimistic spirit; her ever-present smile; her frequent invocations to “Just enjoy!”

Marda was immensely curious, kind-hearted, resourceful, and adventurous—a lover of life and all its sights, smells, flavors, sounds, and sensations. She read a book a day for most of her life (including with her beloved book club), was forever on the hunt for new restaurants and recipes, and relished steel drum and Hawaiian slack key guitar concerts and other cultural events across the DC area. A lifelong lover of travel, she always had a trip on the calendar and researched her destinations thoroughly to find the very best experiences and hidden gems. She treasured the outdoors, exploring them by foot, bike, and boats of all kinds and savoring them on family camping, beach, and river trips. She was an especially frequent and passionate visitor of Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna; she even created a photo book about it that was sold in the gift shop for a time.

What she loved most, however, was spending time with her beloved family and wonderful friends, including and especially her husband (George Hoadley), her two adult children and significant others (Alex Post and Rhonda Sincavage; and Jenny Mayo and Mike Dolan), her grandson (Jae Dolan), and her sister and brother and their families (Mary Davidson and Rich Fortmann). She always had an open door and another seat at the table.

Marda was born in Lincoln, Neb., and spent her childhood in Towaco, N.J., making close friendships she maintained throughout her life. She attended Bucknell University, but felt the lure of broader horizons, securing a fellowship to attend the East-West Center in Hawaii and traveling across Asia in conjunction with her studies. She served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and later earned her master’s in urban planning from Columbia University. She applied her talents to a wide variety of projects during her career, including advocating for a better bike trail network in the Boston area, working to improve water quality in the Americas, and aiding in the cleanup of Superfund sites. She was forever cooking up a new project idea, be it for a website, a grant she hoped to secure, or a book concept.

Above all else, she will be dearly missed and remembered for her joyous, loving, inquisitive approach to life and its infectious quality among those around her.

A private, family celebration of life will take place at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Meadowlark Gardens here

(gifts must be made from a desktop or laptop computer; mobile giving is not available at this time).

Condolences and favorite memories of Marda may be sent to George Hoadley at or:

George Hoadley

406 Council Drive, NE

Vienna, VA 22180

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