M. Theresa Martinez, 62, of Fairfield, died March 22, 2010, at St. Vincent's Medical Center, surrounded by her family.

She was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, to Miguel and Maria Martinez. Her father predeceased her.

"Dini," as she was known, was a gifted educator, both as an elementary school teacher for almost 20 years, and as a principal for more than 10 years. She retired as principal from Pumpkin Delight School in Milford in 1999. As a dedicated teacher and principal, Martinez was well loved by her students and colleagues alike.

She graduated from Sacred Heart University with a bachelor's degree in English, from Southern Connecticut State University with a master's degree in education and from Sacred Heart University with a sixth-year degree in educational administration.

Martinez loved to play music, to sing and dance and to write poetry. She loved to travel, attend opera, ballet and theatre, and she was a film officiando. Her courage and strength in the face of 30 years of illness battling lupus, kidney failure and cancer was an inspiration to all who knew and cared for her. She was an extraordinary person and her loving spirit, quick wit and deep spirituality indelibly marked the lives of many family and friends.

She is survived by her lifetime and beloved friend, Michelle Loris and her partner, Victoria, and their two sons, Sal and Nick, who are Theresa's godsons; her mother, Maria; her sister, Olga Vitale and her husband, Tom, and their children, JoAnna and her husband, Jack Goncalves, Thomas Jr. and Christopher; her sister, Micky Kollar and her husband, Bob, and their children, Keith and his wife, Mina, Kipp and his wife, Mary, and Kim Wood and her husband, Jeff; her sister, Jackie Unger and her children, Joshua, Jennifer, and Sean and his wife, Sayard; and several grandnieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated today, March 26, at 10 a.m. in The Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Ave., Fairfield; interment will be private. Calling hours took place Thursday at the Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Road, Trumbull.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her name to the Lupus Foundation, 270 Farmington Ave., Suite 218, Farmington, CT 06032; the National Kidney Foundation, 2139 Silas Deane Highway, Rocky Hill, CT 06067; or the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Center, c/o Bridgeport Hospital, 267 Grant St., Bridgeport, CT 06610.

To light a virtual candle, visit www.abriola.com