Martha Doll (“Marty”) Pyke died peacefully at her Sebastian home on January 1, 2023, not long after the New Year’s Eve fireworks had finished, with her beloved dog Taffy at her side. She was 71.
Predeceasing Marty were her father Budd Matthews Simes, her mother Lila Selma Salmela Simes, and her sister, Lila Phyllis Simes Baker.
As the daughter of a fisherman, she grew up along the Indian River. Budd Simes built his own fish house and boats, mended his own nets, and shoveled ice over fish in his ice house for most of his life, after having been a sailor in the south Pacific during World War II. Budd had an independent temperament, which no doubt contributed to Marty’s strong and ebullient personality.
Marty was half Finnish-American. Her gentle and wise mother Lila was the daughter of Finnish immigrants Jaako and Saime Salmela, who came to Valkaria in 1911 and then to Sebastian in 1920. She spent a great deal of her youth at her grandparents’ large wooden house on Louisiana Avenue.
Marty treasured her mother, with whom she lived after a 2004 hurricane destroyed Marty’s Melbourne home and her belongings. Because Lila’s birthday was on a January 1, perhaps Marty timed her last heartbeat on January 1, 2023 so as to arrive just in time for a heavenly birthday party with her mom.
She was the second of Budd and Lila’s two children. At birth, her sister Phyllis was already 14 years old. Her parents named the new baby “Martha Doll,” which she was called until deciding as a young teenager that “Marty” suited her better.
She is survived by two nephews, David Baker of Whittier, North Carolina, and Bill Baker of Owings, Maryland.
She also is survived by former husband Roger Pyke, whom she dearly loved. She spent several happy years in Europe as a soldier’s wife, albeit sometimes hanging on for dear life on the back of Roger’s motorcycle.
She also is survived by her aunt Edna Gould, 103, of Altamonte Springs, Florida, and by many cousins and other relatives. She was especially close to Sandra Waltermire of Sebastian (sister of Marty’s predeceased aunt, Helen Florschutz Salmela), whose father George Florschutz built the house in which Marty grew up and ultimately died, including a large artesian fountain in the front yard in which Marty and other childhood friends and relatives spent many hours bobbing along in the cold water while sliding their bare feet on the slippery bottom. She was close to Sandra’s children, Richard “Dicky” Waltermire, Robert “Bobby” Waltermire, and Muriel “Rosi” Stubbs, who were especially helpful when Marty became homebound.
Marty loved people (and dogs, cats, and horses, almost as much). She could talk with anybody at any time, and knew the mail man and the yard man almost as well as her kin. Her people skills served her well as a bartender, which was her profession. She served and became friends with many patrons at Earl’s Hideaway in Sebastian, and later at the Melbourne airport bar. She loved her work because of the relationships with people she’d meet and get to know.
She later worked at the Walgreens liquor store in Roseland, where she could make expert recommendations and where customers and co-workers became close friends.
She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
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