Cover photo for Marta Louise LaRosse - Gaughen's Obituary
1932 Marta 2023

Marta Louise LaRosse - Gaughen

December 22, 1932 — August 16, 2023

San Diego

Marta Louise Gaughen, beloved wife and nurturing mother, fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, August 16th 2023, in San Diego. Marta’s life was a testament to her unwavering love for her family, dedication to community and faith in God. She was born in San Diego, to Charles H. and Marta E. LaRosse, who welcomed their eldest daughter into this world on December 22nd 1932. They instilled in her the values of integrity, perseverance and faith that would guide her throughout her life.


From her early childhood through the WWII era, the family called Monrovia and Santa Monica home. They later settled in the Imperial Valley, where Marta attended Brawley Union High School. She led the marching band as a drum majorette, as well as being active in theatrical productions and tennis. She graduated in 1950, and afterward attended El Centro JC. Upon moving to San Diego, she resumed her education at San Diego JC, before transferring to San Diego State College (now SDSU). It was there that she met Marty Gaughen. Their love story would become the cornerstone of Marta’s life.


After their wedding in August of 1957, at Grace Lutheran Church, the happy couple honeymooned their way across country to New Orleans, where Marty was attending Dental School. Marta obtained her teaching credential and dedicated herself to educating 1st and 2nd graders at an elementary school in St. Bernard Parish. She cherished those years so much that she fondly referred to her students, even in later years, as “her kids,” while remembering all of their names.


Marta and Marty started a family upon returning to their beloved San Diego. Marta's dedication to education extended beyond the classroom, and before long, she was involved with the PTA, served as Girl Scout leader, and through her role as docent for the SD Opera, shared her love of that genre with the children of Hardy Elementary School, where the girls attended.


In addition to Opera, classical music held a special place in Marta’s heart. She enjoyed singing with the San Diego Chorale and was a long-time member of the San Diego Opera Guild, often hosting meetings and memorable musicales in her home, which were enjoyed by all who attended.


Her artistic nature was evident in everything she did, from set decoration and stage make-up in school productions, to drawing, painting, and sewing. She would make the most creative Halloween costumes by hand for her children. She took great delight in preparing gourmet holiday meals and baking bread from scratch. Coming home from school and smelling the bread baking in the oven was sheer Heaven. Her creativity in the kitchen helped cement our family traditions throughout the years. Even later in life, her vibrant imagination shone through.


As a dedicated wife and partner to Marty in both their personal lives and his business endeavors, she provided steadfast support in navigating life's challenges together. She actively participated in the SDSU Alumni Association and Aztec Club functions, hosted family reunions, as well as holiday and neighborhood block parties. Her support of Marty’s career and passion for dental health education led Marta to play an instrumental role in founding the SD Children's Dental Health Organization that promoted dental health education to San Diego’s school-age children. She went on to serve as President of the local SD Women’s Dental Auxiliary, as well as Southern California and Western Regional divisions of the organization. All this, while still finding time to nurture her children's sports activities, dance lessons, music and foreign language education.


Marta’s appetite for knowledge extended to California history. She enjoyed travel both within the United States and abroad. Marta had a particular affinity for the art, history, and cultures of Spain, Germany, and Ireland. Yosemite and Monterrey held a special place for both Marta and Marty.


Though Marta possessed an unmistakable refinement and elegance, she also had a wry sense of humor that often revealed itself through clever wordplay and infectious laughter, endearing her to everyone who knew her. She approached life with grace, always ensuring that things were done correctly while infusing every moment with warmth and love.


Ever present was the foundation of her faith in Jesus Christ as she joyously served in the church Alter Guild, and also as Elder and Stephen’s Care Minister at Faith Lutheran Church.

Marta will be deeply and dearly missed by her family and friends. Marta is survived by her loving daughters and son-in-law, her younger sisters, her God-sons, nieces, nephews, and close cherished friends. She is preceded in death by Marty, her beloved husband of 50 years.

“…love forever true.”


She will be interred with her husband, Martin, at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery - 1700 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106


JOHN 14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

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