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Donald Martens

Donald Martens

Sunday, June 9th, 1935 - Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
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Memorial services will be held at a later date.

Donald Lee (Don) Martens was born June 9, 1935 in Atlantic, Iowa the son of Irving and Gertrude (Richards) Martens and brother of Virginia (Martens) Adams of Boxholm, Iowa. Don departed this life on December 30, 2020 at the Good Samaritan Center in Estherville at the age of 85.

Donald was raised northwest of Estherville, attended country school in rural Emmet County and later Emmet Consolidated School District before graduating from the Estherville High School in 1953 where Don played football and ran track.

After graduation, Don worked for Fagre Construction before enlisting in the United States Army where he was assigned to the 814th Engineering Company as a bridge specialist and was stationed in Germany and also completed paratrooper training as part of the 11th Airborne.

After being discharged from the Army, Don returned to Estherville and attended Estherville Junior College before marrying classmate Mary Ellen Scott on May 12, 1957. The couple farmed northwest of Estherville while Don also did carpentry work as a sideline. In the early 70’s Don left farming and took up carpentry and construction full time. Don and Mary Ellen escaped each winter to Florida where they enjoyed the warmth and made numerous friends who they continued to stay in touch with over the years.

Don always enjoyed his St. Bernard dogs that they had on the farm, having owned two over the years, both named “Princess”.

Don had many fond memories of getting together with his pals at the Superior Café and no doubt they solved many of the problems of the world at that time.

Later in life Don became involved in antique tractor pulling and the bug bit. He had a 1937 Farmall F-20 that he was always tinkering with while getting ready for the tractor pulls and enjoyed participating in tractor pulls in the area, many times participating in tractor pulls with his sons.

Don was known for his quick wit and sense of humor, where he harassed and teased people around him and continued to do so until the end.

Left to cherish his memory are his children, son Paul (Lynda) Martens of Estherville, daughter Michelle (Kevin) Swanson of Edina, Minnesota and son Michael (Phyllis) Martens of Estherville, seven grandchildren; Danielle (Corey) Roberts, Jamie Martens and Brooklyn (Eric) Enderton all of Des Moines, Leah (Brent) Keene of Hartley, Molly (Casey) Edwards of Estherville, Patrick Swanson and Lydia Swanson of Edina, Minnesota, 3 step grandchildren; Trevor Delmolino of Spirit Lake, Kyle and Brandon Delmolino of Estherville and eleven great grandchildren. Also left to cherish his memory are his sister, Virginia (Harlan) Adams, sister-in-law, Ayako Scott of Clear Lake and several nieces and nephews.

Don was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Ellen; parents Irving and Gertrude Martens, parents- in-law Walter and Ida Scott and infant sister Wilma.

The family would like to express their appreciation for the great care and compassion that the Good Samaritan staff showed for Don.
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Service Details

  • Interment

    East Side Cemetery
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Valerie Schick

Posted at 02:41pm
Uncle Donnie was such a fun Uncle. He always had that great smile and something quick and witty to share Visits to the Martens farms always came with fond memories of highly competitive volleyball performances, with Uncle Don leading the games. I remember Uncle Don recruiting my sister Patty and I to the Marten volleyball team for several Estherville Winter Olympic Games. We played well. It came down to the final volley, the ball is coming right towards me, and I blew it. I looked right at Uncle Don he looked back and dropped his head in shame. Lol. It was so much fun. I will never forget all the great memories.
Please know that I carry all of you in my heart. I love you all and hope to see you in June.

Valerie (Scott) Schick.

Photo of Valerie, Uncle Donnie, Natalie Poole. Back row Stephanie Garner and Patty Hauchrog

Martin Scobey

Posted at 08:34pm
As a child growing up on the south side of Chicago, one of my favorite vacations was to visit the Martens in Northwest Iowa. Donald, Mary Ellen, and their kids were so welcoming, and I (we) had so much fun. This photo with my Dad seated in the foreground is the last visit my Dad made out to "The Farm." We'll always treasure those memories. Thanks Don and Family!
Marty Scobey

Connie Marnin

Posted at 05:31pm
Uncle Donnie was a favorite of mine. He always did things with us “ kids” at the family get togethers! As a little girl I spent about a week at the farm with Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Don. It was a fun week with two wonderful people. He touched many lives and he will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to you all. I will try to attend the services n June. Hugs to all of you!

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