Obituary for Martha Cashman

Martha Mary Cashman, aged 63 of Northfield, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep on October 30, 2017. Martha was born on November 14, 1953, in Owatonna, MN to Charles E. and Barbara A. Cashman as the fourth of ten children. She graduated from Owatonna High School in 1972. Martha received her B.A. in Communications and then her Masters in International Agriculture from the University of Minnesota, finishing in 1978. Martha always loved talking to and working with people. She was a natural for a career in communications and sales. She started in corporate communications for Cenex, Inc., before […]

show more

Martha Mary Cashman, aged 63 of Northfield, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep on October 30, 2017.
Martha was born on November 14, 1953, in Owatonna, MN to Charles E. and Barbara A. Cashman as the fourth of ten children. She graduated from Owatonna High School in 1972. Martha received her B.A. in Communications and then her Masters in International Agriculture from the University of Minnesota, finishing in 1978. Martha always loved talking to and working with people. She was a natural for a career in communications and sales. She started in corporate communications for Cenex, Inc., before seeking the adventure of an international career working in The Gambia for USAID. There she met her future husband, Thomas Winn of Blooming Prairie, MN, who she married on July 6, 1984. Martha and Tom continued their adventure together by working for USAID in Jamaica for the next 4 years. Missing home, Martha and Tom returned to Minnesota in 1988 where they lived in St. Louis Park and enjoyed raising their two children, Kimesha and Peter. Martha worked for Land O’ Lakes for the next 15 years as the Vice President for International Development and Sales. Martha traveled the world for Land O’ Lakes, and especially enjoyed her work in off-the-beaten track developing world locations. She loved helping people improve their agricultural skills in numerous Central and West African countries, Russia, Poland, Pakistan, India and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia. She developed close friends from all backgrounds around the world, along with a keen eye and passion for collecting aboriginal and indigenous art that she loved to display at home. Martha took her international agricultural development skills to Carlsbad, California, where she worked to develop new product preservation technology as the Senior Vice President of International Development and Sales for Sure Beam, Inc. In 2005, Minnesota called again. Tom and Martha moved to Northfield, where she cared for Tom during a long battle with cancer. After Tom passed in 2006, Martha decided to channel her energies toward consulting on international agricultural development issues, senior health care issues as the founder and CEO of Seniors Helping Seniors, and then the infrastructure development challenges facing small towns across the United States as the CEO for the Midwest Assistance Program. In 2012 Martha brought her enthusiasm and talent for community outreach to the Mayo Clinic as the Director of Community Engagement.
Martha was a people person. She loved talking. She was especially passionate about her family, and made her children, Kimesha and Peter, and then her grandchildren, Maroun, Rowan and Brixton, the center of her life. Martha had a big personality and was a natural leader. She particularly enjoyed lively intellectual discussions, especially about politics. She enjoyed art, music, needlepoint, cars, motorcycles, her dogs, and was a “big techy.” You could count on Martha for 4 or 5 Facebook postings every day, and they were almost always thought provoking. Martha did not shy away from controversy.
Survivors include her children Kimesha Winn of Minneapolis, Peter (Emily) Winn of Waconia; her grandchildren Maroun, Rowan and Brixton; her mother Barbara A. Cashman of Scottsdale, Arizona; her siblings Charlie (Donna) Cashman of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Ann Neuenfeldt of Scottsdale, Arizona; Kristin Cashman of Minneapolis; Matthew (Karen) Cashman of Elko; Michael Cashman (CJ) of Edina; Noah (Paula) Cashman of Northfield; Mia (Paul) Reavis of Benson, Arizona; her nieces and nephews Nick and Gigi Neuenfeldt; Jesse, Andrew, Eleanor, Grace, Hugh, Caroline and Evan Cashman; Sam, Abe and Zoe Henson; and her in-law George Winn of New Prague. She was preceded in death by her husband Thomas Winn, her brother Peter Cashman, her sister Sarah Henson, her father the Honorable Charles E. Cashman and her nephew Max Henson.
Memorial service 11 a.m. Saturday December 16, 2017 at the United Church of Christ in Northfield, Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers gifts in memory of Martha can be made to the Mayo Clinic in support of leukemia research at: Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.

show less


December 16, 2017 - 11:00 AM

First United Church of Christ
300 Union St Northfield, 55057 Get Directions


  1. Connie Cihak

    I am greatly saddened by the loss of Martha; she truly was an extra-ordinary woman with amazing gifts and the desire to help others around the world. I pray the results of her efforts will continue to improve lives and be multiplied over and over. I had the privilege of knowing Martha and her mentor, Vern Freeh during my time at Land O Lakes. Truly together they laid the foundation of the International Development Division. My sympathy to her family.

  2. Tim Geisler

    Our deepest sympathy to all of Martha’s family. Martha was a true friend and colleague. May memories of her sustain us all during this time of sorrow.

  3. Bruce Sutor

    Martha was a strong advocate for the mental health care needs of Minnesotans. She was smart, funny, and kind. I’m going to miss her.

  4. Debbie Eagle

    Martha’s colleagues in Education at Mayo Clinic are deeply saddened at her passing. Her smile and engaging interpersonal style will be sorely missed. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her-she inspired us with her dedication and advocacy for our community members and their needs. We will miss you Martha.

  5. Ted Weihe

    Martha provided the spark that led to LOL International Development program growth, going from three employees to a major player in international cooperative development. I was beside her in all of this work that really took off with Poland and expanded to other Central and Eastern countries in training in coops, free markets and agriculture. She led the efforts at recreating the private dairy industries in Poland, Romania, Albania and Macedonia, quality cheese and meat standards in Macedonia, farmer coops in Montenegro, fruits and vegetables in Ukraine, sheep and dairy in Palestine and many similar projects in Africa and Latin America. She marshaled the Land O’Lakes team, provided the enthusiasm, supported innovation and self-initiative and won the hearts of many of her employees and colleagues. Many us who knew Martha well both personally and professionally will dearly miss her.

  6. Suzanne Leaf-Brock

    Here is what comes to mind as I think about Martha: Strong. Confident. Not one who was afraid to speak up, offer her opinion, hesitant to say what was on her mind or respectfuuly express a conflicting point of view. Our paths came together at Mayo Clinic, where we worked in the same department. My heart is heavy. My condolences.

  7. Jim & Cindie Smart

    We are just heartbroken! Martha, her late husband Tom, kimisha and Peter were a big part of our lives for many years! When we think of some of the amazing meals we shared at their home, along with some of the most wonderful and interesting people, we have no choice but to smile!

    Martha was such an inspiration to us, and maybe even more to our daughter. She was so smart and so compassionate that Casey realized very early in her life that nothing could stand in her way to success because she was a woman!

    We send our love to you Martha & Tom, and our gratitude for all of the light that you brought to our lives!

    Kimisha and Peter, please don’t ever hesitate too let us know if there is anything we can do!

  8. Susan Fargo Prosser

    I will most remember Martha’s capacity for joy, compassion, curiosity and her fascination and love for our world in all its diversity and complexity. She was so creative, welcoming and loving. She was courageous and fought hard for the values and ideas nearest to her heart. She championed the perspectives of those who are less fortunate, or less visible in our communities. She also encouraged so many colleagues in their (life’s)work and inspired others to affect positive change in the world. I will forever appreciate her many gifts. My deepest condolences to her family and close friends (she has so, so many). She would often share one of her favorite quotes, an Amharic proverb … “Little by little, an egg will walk.” I think about that lesson often.

  9. Jim Bower

    I had the pleasure to work with Martha briefly with Mayo Clinic Abroad. She had a fantastic passion for Global Health . We will miss her.

  10. Sara Lee

    Martha loved large. As a colleague of hers at Mayo Clinic, I will treasure her passion for others, especially those marginalized by society, and those of diverse backgrounds. She treated her “work family” with love and valued each of us, always supporting our passions and work. She spoke so highly of her family, especially her beloved grandchildren. My heart breaks for them. Rowan, Brixton and Maroun, please know your grandma loved you dearly. I’ll miss her laugh, her gregariousness, her energy and her compassion for humanity. God’s Peace to the family and her many friends.

  11. Karl Oestreich

    Martha was full of passion and determination. Her smile and engaging personality will be missed.

  12. Margaret G. Mester

    I was just getting to know Martha, and I was so excited to do so. She was a champion for diversity and inclusion, which Rochester and Mayo Clinic greatly need! Our conversations were few, but each time, she eagerly asked about my work and encouraged me to continue to do more in this field. Her confidence and passion were infectious! I’m not going to look for an antibiotic. May God abundantly bless all of her family and friends, and may God bless Martha.

  13. Kevin L. Callahan, Minneapolis

    I am greatly saddened by the news of Marth’s passing. I knew her in college as an endearing, lively, highly intelligent, and very caring person. There were so many people who were fond of Martha. She will be missed by those who knew her and were privileged to have known her. My sincere condolences to her family.

  14. Bonnie Norman

    I am so sad to hear that this life force is gone from us. Martha passionately loved her family, her friends, and her work. I’m so lucky to have known her since high school and to have reconnected years ago. Every trip home to Minnesota included a dinner or lunch to catch up and laugh and share our highs and lows. She will be missed.

  15. Steve Courts

    I too am saddened by the news of Martha’s death. I will miss many things about Martha, especially her ability to get to the heart of what mattered. Most of all, however, I will miss her friendship. I could always count on Martha for a positive attitude and outlook that always left me hopeful. I count myself blessed for having the privilege to know her.

  16. Tim Geisler

    Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend Martha’s memorial service to celebrate he wonderful like. Her family was everything for Martha and I hope they know they will be in our thoughts and prayers. Martha’s compassion, passion and enthusiastic concern for the unfortunate will always be in my memories of her. May God strengthen us all as we deal with this loss.

  17. April Sutor

    Martha was a ball of energy, light, enthusiasm and a gift to the world. Not many like Martha walk among us–with her passing we are all the poorer. She was tireless in sharing her many talents and gifts. May we all learn from her sharing and continue her generosity. Until we meet again my friend.

  18. Sean Rice

    I was greatly saddened to hear of Martha’s passing. She was a bright light in our community, and Rochester is a greater place as a result of her work. Martha was a fervent supporter of the efforts to help people in need, which is a reflection of her generous nature and commitment to help others. God bless.

  19. Quinn Meyer

    Dear cousin and friend Martha. I already miss you and what you would be thinking about as to what has tranpired since your passing. Quinn senior, Anita and I loved you much! Anita will be there in Northfield to celebrate a life well lived. So many xoxoxo to the Chuck And Barbara Cashman family on this enormous loss. Kimesha and Peter my heart is with you and grand kids that she loved so much. Love Cousin Quinn

  20. Jennifer Walcott

    I knew Martha and Tom a long time ago in Jamaica and will treasure the memories of our times together. She was a wonderful, vibrant person, and she will be missed. My thoughts and love to Kimesha, Peter, and their families.

  21. Nancy Austin Pence

    I am so sad to hear of Martha’s passing every single one of you in the Cashman family held such a special place in our family’s heart. May God’s love and peace be with you….and know that you are all thought of and loved

  22. Mary Anne Wolesky

    Dear family of Martha,
    Martha was our very fun high spirited neighbor growing up in Owatonna. The sparkle in her eyes and her fun smile told the future of all that she would accomplish in her short life. We are deeply saddened at your loss. She truly left this world a better place. I feel blessed to have known her. With deepest sympathy, Mary Anne (Gainey)Wolesky

  23. Bingkun K. Chen

    Dear Family of Martha,
    The news of Martha’s loss took our whole Chinese community in Rochester by sadness!
    On behalf of the whole Chinese School and Community in Rochester, please accept my deepest sympathy and condolence for the loss of our dearest colleague and friend – Ms. Martha Cashman.
    Martha was a role model to me! She was full of love and generosity. She was a true supporter and friend of Chinese Community in Rochester. Martha was very supportive of the Chinese community events in the past years. She greeted everyone with a smile and a warm hug.
    It was my greatest regret that Martha never made her visit to the Chinese New Year Celebration Party, though I had invited her many times and she would earnestly love to join it badly. I know she would be an excellent remark giver in the party. It would surely be funny and humorous, ☺) always amazing people.
    Today we celebrate her life. God now has her in His glory. She will be dearly missed.

    Bingkun K. Chen, MD/PhD/MBA
    Chair, Mayo Chinese Employee Resource Group (Chinese MERG)
    Chair, Board of Directors, Rochester Chinese School (RCS)
    Bingkun Chen, Xiaosheng Wu, Zhen Ren, Xinming Shen, Liqin Wang, Xiaomin Wang, and Wenzhi Zhan

  24. Martha Byanyima

    I have just learned about Martha’s transition, with so much sadness. I met Martha when I worked in Uganda for Land O Lakes. She brought so much passion and joy in our work to support poor small holder farmers; I have not met anyone like her in my entire development career. She lived a full life and impacted many lives in Africa, including me !! may the good Lord grant her eternal rest


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This

Share this obituary