Martens, Gordon Louis

Male 1939 - 2021  (81 years)

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  • Name Martens, Gordon Louis 
    Born 9 Dec 1939 
    Gender Male 
    Died 7 Sep 2021 

    • Gordon and Jill Martens

      September 7, 2021

      Gordon Louis Martens and Nona Jill (Hougham) Martens passed from this life on September 7, 2021. Visitation will be held on September 13, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Veterans Reception Center, 910 Main Street, Van Meter, Iowa. Funeral services will be held at the same location on September 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., with committal services at Iowa Veterans Cemetery at 11:00 a.m., and a luncheon to follow back at the reception center.

      The perfect couple. However you knew them – as Gordon and Jill, or Mom and Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa, or Aunt Jill and Uncle Gordon, or Gordie and Jill – you could not help but to admire their lifelong partnership and love story. They laughed together. Sang together. Danced together. Worshiped together. Traveled together. They took care of each other. They honored each other. They loved each other. And when it was time to leave the burdens of this world behind, and move on to greater glory, they made the journey together.

      Gordon was born at his Aunt Kate's house in rural Van Meter on December 9, 1939. Growing up, he attended Trinity Lutheran Church with his parents, Lou and Anna Martens, and his two brothers, Kenny and Gene. Gordon graduated from Van Meter High School in 1957. He joined the Iowa Air National Guard in December 1960, and served an accomplished and lengthy military career. He was commissioned as a Captain in November 1979, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1995. No one was more patriotic than Gordon. He loved his country, and his fellow Guardsmen. His involvement with the Guard did not end or fade away when Gordie retired. To the contrary, he and Jill seemed to enjoy Guard events and gatherings even more in retirement. Gordon was kind, strong, and steady, always willing to lend guidance and leadership, whenever and wherever called upon.

      Jill was born on June 28, 1942. Growing up, she attended Booneville United Methodist Church with her parents, Everett and Lucylle Hougham, and her sister, Jean. Jill graduated from Van Meter High School in 1960. She received her nursing license from Iowa Methodist Medical Center in 1963. After working as a nurse for a brief period, she transitioned to stay-at-home mother and wife when Valerie was born in 1966, followed by Dan in 1968. Although not practicing, Jill forever retained her pride of being a nurse, keeping her license current for several decades. Jill was kind, gentle, and sincere, always ready to get to work, and never one to complain or procrastinate. She took care of others in many ways, but especially through her baking of cookies.

      Gordon and Jill were married in the Booneville United Methodist Church on October 26, 1963. Living in Booneville for more than 40 years, they moved to their home in rural Van Meter in 2007, just a short distance from the house where Gordon grew up. Over the years, they thoroughly enjoyed spending time at their second residence in Clear Lake, Iowa, particularly in connection with hosting their annual July 4th celebration. They treasured their children, Valerie and Dan, their son-in-law, Ben Schultz, their daughter-in-law, Kathy (Havighurst) Martens, and each of their precious grandchildren, Joshua, Caleb, Anna, Grace, Will, Andrew, Emmie Lou, and R.J.

      Gordon and Jill's life together was a love story. We celebrate them, and we honor them. Two love-birds, who left this world together.

      Published by Globe Gazette on Sep. 12, 2021.
      To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

      PHILIP JOENS | Des Moines Register
      19 hours ago
      Gordon Martens and Jill Hougham met as student council members at Van Meter High School in the mid-1950s — he was a senior, she a freshman.

      They weren't high school sweethearts but started dating shortly after she graduated in 1960. They married three years later at a church in Jill's hometown of Booneville and spent most of the next six decades by each other's side.

      The couple raised two children, had eight grandchildren and would have celebrated their 58th anniversary on Oct. 26. But around 1:45 p.m. Sept. 7, the Iowa State Patrol says the driver of a tractor-trailer failed to recognize slowing traffic on Interstate Highway 35 southbound and caused a multi-vehicle crash that killed both Gordon and Jill Martens as they drove home from their cabin in Clear Lake. He was 81 years old; she was 79.

      The tractor-trailer crashed into the back end of another semi before hitting a van, injuring a 35-year-old man from Clear Lake, and hitting the Martenses' red GMC Canyon pickup truck, according to a State Patrol crash report. The impact caused the Martenses' vehicle to crash into another semi.

      The driver of the semi that caused the Martenses' crash, Matthew Rewitzer, 32, of Eagle Bend, Minnesota, was involved in two similar rear-end crashes in Wisconsin and Minnesota over the last 18 months, according to a review of traffic citations and other public records by The Des Moines Register.

      Through Sept. 28, 252 people have been killed on Iowa roads this year, up from 242 at the same point last year, according to data from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

      Iowa State Patrol: Two from Van Meter killed when semi fails to stop for slowing traffic

      Crash was 'senseless and needless'
      Jim Turner of Winona, Minnesota, was in the right lane of Interstate 35 south of Ames the afternoon of Sept. 7, hauling Hormel pork to a warehouse in Altoona, when he got caught in traffic.

      Flashing signs warned of slowing or stopping traffic ahead as Turner passed Ames, he said. Around mile marker 106, where the crash happened, a gradual downhill allowed him to see tail lights "for a long ways ahead."

      Turner turned on his flashing hazards to alert other drivers of the backup. Traffic stopped momentarily and then inched ahead, Turner recalled — the Martenses' truck was in the left lane, Turner's rig was in the right.

      It was then that he remembers hearing what sounded like "three huge booms."

      "Sometimes at these fireworks finales you hear a real loud boom like that," Turner said. "It just reverberated and shook everything."

      The crash report says the booms came from crashes caused by a 2007 Peterbilt tractor-trailer driven by Rewitzer that failed to stop. Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Alex Dinkla said the crash is still under investigation, and Rewitzer has not been charged or cited.

      Turner, who was not injured in the crash but whose semi sustained about $10,000 in damage, said the impact was so loud that he still hears it. He vividly remembers the wreckage. And from his point of view, there was no indication the approaching tractor-trailer slowed before impact.

      "I didn’t see any tire marks or anything there," he said. "There was nothing.

      "It was just senseless and needless. It didn't have to happen."
    Person ID I2740  Hougham
    Last Modified 13 Sep 2021 

    Father Living 
    Mother Living 
    Family ID F11086  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Hougham, Nona Jill
              b. 28 Jun 1942
              d. 7 Sep 2021  (Age 79 years) 
    Married 26 Oct 1963 
    +1. Martens, Valerie Jean
              b. 1 Jul 1966
              d. 22 Oct 2021  (Age 55 years)
     2. Living
    Family ID F1302  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart