“Big Martha” Kostyra (1914-2007)

This weekend, Christine and I were very sad to hear of the passing of Martha Stewart’s super cool, Polish-American mother, Martha Kostyra (aka “Big” Martha) at the age of 93.

Anyone who’s read “Little Martha’s” magazines or watched her many TV shows over the years — and lord knows we have, Christine Tivo’s and watches Martha’s daily show…daily! — knows what a huge impact her sweet, craft-tastic mother had on making Martha Stewart who she is today.

“Big Martha” Kostyra (1914-2007) on the beach in 1941!

Whether she was helping her daughter make Borscht, offering sewing tips, or just sitting in the audience watching the show, “Big Martha” was a huge presence in the Martha Stewart universe — even showing up in the courtroom every day when “Little Martha” was on trial a couple years back! So cool!

But I think our favorite thing about “Big Martha” was her wry sense of humor and her totally deadpan delivery. Watching her and “Little Martha” working together in the kitchen — especially when they weren’t seeing eye to eye on something — was always a highlight of the show. Seriously, it was like watching me and my mom cook enchiladas on Christmas day…tense, funny and messy as hell, but in the end, totally awesome…and delicious to boot.

Our thoughts go out to Martha and Alexis Stewart and the entire Kostyra family during this difficult time. To coin a phrase from the vernacular of her time, “Big Martha” was truly the bees knees! She will be missed…

In honor of “Big Martha’s” passing, we wanted to post this sweet video tribute that appeared on “Martha” a while back. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in reading more about the life of “Big Martha” Kostyra, you can find some of her signature recipes, fan tributes, and even a brief letter from “Little Martha” herself at: http://blogs1.marthastewart.com/martha/

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2 Comments

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2 responses to ““Big Martha” Kostyra (1914-2007)

  1. OMG how sad. Although I’m not nearly the Martha devotee that you guys are, I definetly have watched my share of Martha and I remember her mother vividly.

    I remember one episode I was watching them make cabbage pierogies, and I was bemused by big Martha’s stern, emotionless demeanor as she grimly made her pierogies. It was a funny contrast to little Martha’s attempt at keeping things upbeat.

    It made for some great TV, let me tell you! :) Big Martha will be sorely missed.

  2. I know, sad huh? There was an even nicer video tribute to “Big Martha” today on Martha’s show. So sweet, it totally made us cry…

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