Martha Applegate Schonberger passed away peacefully at her home in Leesburg, Virginia on the morning of October 14, 2022, at the age of 61. Martha was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1961 to Brooks and Susanne Applegate. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University in 1983 and Master of Science in Environmental Law and Public Policy from Vermont Law School in 1985. However, she subsequently discovered, after marrying and becoming the mother of three sons, that her true calling was teaching.
One of Martha’s favorite sayings was “Love is my superpower” and she quietly demonstrated that superpower through her positive and caring impact on the lives of others as a special education teacher in Loudoun County for 25 years and as a founder of Legacy Farms, a Loudoun County based 501©3 non-profit organization established in 2012 to provide neurodiverse individuals education, training, apprenticeships and job opportunities. She was honored by Shenandoah University in 2007 as Teacher of the Year in Loudoun County for her work in special education. Martha also served on the Balch Library Commission and the Loudoun Literacy Council, and, as a mother of three boys, was a Cub Scout Den Mother.
Martha’s greatest love was her family, and her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving which brought her entire family together in her home. It was her tradition to gather everyone together in a circle before the Thanksgiving meal and let everyone know how much they were loved. And after her family had gone, she would profess to have a “hole in her heart” until they returned.
Martha is survived by the following family members, each with a hole in their heart: her husband of 37 years, Lawrence; their three sons, Benjamin and his husband Zach, Samuel, and Harrison and his wife Sarah; her brother, Brooks Applegate III and his wife Lissa, his son Brooks IV, and his daughters Kara and Mia; her mother-in-law, Frances Schonberger; her brother-in-law, James Schonberger and his wife Debi, and their sons Lester and Charlie; and her sister-in-law, Susan Aitcheson and her daughter Lisa and son Nick.
A celebration of Martha’s life will be held on November 19, 2022, starting at 1:00 PM in the banquet hall at the Ida Lee Recreation Center located at 60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg, Virginia 20176. Those wishing to honor Martha are encouraged to make a donation to Legacy Farms at legacyfarmsvirginia.org.