Martha F. Brinson March 29, 1945 - October 11, 2018

Martha Felicia Brinson of Asheville, NC died Thursday, October 11, 2018 at her home from complications of Parkinson’s Disease and ALS.  Born in Cleveland, OH in 1945, she was preceded in death by her parents, Harry and Shelia Gizler and her siblings Harriet Gizler, Paul Gizler, and Mark Gizler.

Martha grew up in Lakewood, OH and attended Catholic schools there graduating from Magnificant High School and John Carroll University.  She was briefly a member of the Sisters of Humility of Mary Order.  She moved to Northern California in the late 1960’s and taught junior high school for seven years.  While living in the Bay Area, she met her husband Len and they married and moved to Minneapolis, MN in 1977 because California had become too congested.

Martha received a MA degree in counseling from the University of Minnesota and worked for several years as a family therapist and chemical dependency counselor.  She joined the Fairview University of MN Health Care System and served for over 20 years as a manager of all of the outpatient mental health centers in the system.

Martha and Len retired to Asheville, NC in 2012 and Martha became involved in several local groups.  She joined OLLI at UNCA and found strong friendships and support from her women’s group.  She also volunteered several days a week at the local office of the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) where she managed the office and coordinated volunteer recruitment.

Martha’s passion was gardening and she welcomed the challenge of finding sunlight in the mountains of North Carolina.  Her objective was to have at least one of every plant that would grow in this environment and her chainsaw was a constant companion.

Surviving are her husband, Lenard (Len) D. Brinson and two sons, Christopher (partner Lindsay) of Minneapolis, MN and Edward (wife Sherae) of Phoenix, AZ and two granddaughters, Avery and Ava.  She is also survived by three nephews, Christopher Smith of Taos, NM, Scott Smith of Sacramento, CA, and Justin Gizler of Cleveland, OH and a niece, Holly Pruel of Bend, OR.

An informal Memorial Service will be held in Asheville, NC on October 27, 2018.

Memorial Gifts may be made to the ALS Foundation for Life, P.O. Box 96, Natick, MA 01760.



Date: 10/27/2018


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  1. Jim & Sharon Pitts says

    Martha is synonymous with NAMI WC Office’s welcoming atmosphere. She was always the go to person who helped keep us organized.
    The office won’t be the same with out her warm, gentle presence.
    NAMI members, Jim & Sharon Pitts