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Donald Lee (Don) Martens

Jan 11, 2021

Donald Lee (Don) Martens

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.