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Construction Foreman Who Tried To Buy Holdout Out Of Her Tiny Home To Build Mall Became Her BFF


25 June 2017   Humanity

Barry Martin never expected to end up taking care of a crotchety 86-year-old woman. But how their bond was formed was just as unusual as the construction foreman’s attentions to Edith Macefield.

Macefield bought a tiny home in Seattle, Washington sometime back in the late 1940s or early 1950s. She was barely 20 and had already served in the military, until it was discovered she was underage and made to go home.


Back when Edith first bought the place, the current hipster/coffee house/vaping Seattle hadn’t yet come to exist. But as a new century turned, so did the world, and suddenly real estate in Seattle was being snatched up by eager developers faster than you could say “Barnes and Noble.”

But Edith was having none of it. Even when Martin, with the authority of his developer boss, once offered her a cool million if she’d move so they could complete their mall project, Edith was steadfast in her refusal to budge. She continued to be fiercely independent in her dotage, or at least, that was the front she put on for the public.

But as Martin negotiated with her, he came to know her, and she asked him to take her to the beauty parlor one day. Next thing he knew, in addition to his high-stress construction job, Martin found himself being pretty much her full-time caregiver. And then came the very sad news that she had pancreatic cancer, and a terminal diagnosis.

It was at that point that Martin, now quite bonded to Macefield, realized he needed to keep her safe in her own home to the very end.

“She wanted to stay there and die in the house where her mother died. And I kind of realized that if I didn’t do it, she wasn’t going to be able to do that,” Martin told Steve Hartman of CBS News. “She didn’t want to be put into a nursing home.”

It’s been eight years now since Macefield passed away, leaving the tiny house to the very man who had made her last days more bearable. Now in charge of it, Martin could have easily sold it to the developer he worked for, but he knew that wasn’t Edith’s wishes. So, in 2015, he donated the home to a charity which planned to renovate it and offer it as affordable housing.

It’s quite a fable of how sometimes when might meets fight, feisty takes home the crown. And whatever else you could say about Edith Macefield, she was certainly feisty to the very end of her days.



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