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Kathleen Martens

Kathleen M. Martens, age 75, of Willmar, died Monday, September 24, at Rice Care Center in Willmar.

Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, September 29, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Willmar.  Burial will be at Fairview Cemetery in Willmar.  Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Friday, September 28, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Alpha-1 Foundation (alpha1.org).

Kathleen Mary Martens (Hjelle) was born on March 27, 1943, in Joliet, Illinois, to Bertel and Florence (Poolman) Hjelle.  Kathleen grew up on a dairy farm in Argyle and graduated from Argyle High School in 1961.  She attended North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota where she received a bachelor's degree in home economics.  On June 15, 1968, Kathleen married Dr. A. Paul Martens.  They initially resided in New Ulm and later settled in Willmar in 1971.  Kathleen taught in Montgomery, New Ulm and later for Adult Basic Education and the Kandiyohi County Jail in Willmar, along with substitute teaching.

Kathleen was an active member of Redeemer Lutheran Church and an avid player in their card club.  Her hobbies included gardening, sewing, crafts, and reading. She particularly enjoyed family time at their lake home in Brainerd.

She is survived by her three children, Dan Martens of Willmar, Scott (and Abby) Martens of New London, and Lisa (and Shane) Akerson of Prior Lake; three grandchildren, Elizabeth Stevens, Elijah Stevens, and William Martens.  Also surviving is one brother, Dennis Hjelle of Newfolden; one sister, Susan (and Kurt) Bjorgaard of Warren; and four god-children, Lori Engevik, Kristine Bents, Amy Martinson, and Ryan Houfburg, besides other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Dr. A. Paul Martens in 2008.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kathleen Martens, please visit our flower store.


Ten of us, of the 27 in our ArgylePublic School class of 1961,started first grade and went through 12 years together. She was a truly nice person and we offer our condolences to her entire family. May God's grace see you through..

Jim Helberg Oct 3 2018 12:00 AM

Dan, Scott, Lisa, and families, I wish to express my sincere sympathy to you. Your Mother was a very special person. We are blessed to have had her in our lives. She was my favorite substitute teacher. Your parents were my good friends. You were good students. Let us all cherish the many good memories Kathy has provided for us. -Francis Kalvoda-

Francis Kalvoda Sep 28 2018 12:00 AM

Awww...she loved you!!

Lisa Sep 28 2018 12:00 AM

Kathy was my college roommate in Bailey Hall at the University of Minnesota, St Paul Campus. She was a joy to be with and many wonderful memories. I am grateful and thankful for the years for the many years to have Kathy as my friend. I love you Kathy, yes I do!

Sonja Lake Nelson Sep 27 2018 12:00 AM

Kathy will fondly be remembered as Princess Kay of the Milky Way for the year 1962.

Robert Houfburg Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. We will miss Kathy at the Round Table Study Club. I especially remember the talk she gave on the process to become a naturalized US citizen. She will be remembered for her loving smile and personality. I was the Study Club president the last 3 years. Pat SolumPat Solum.

Pat Solum Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM

To Kathy because she will be missed and was loved!

Amy Jo Martinson Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM

Kathy will always be remembered as a wonderful cousin and a very dear friend. Paul, Kathy, Joni and I had many fun, enjoyable times together.

Robert Houfburg Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM

You sure did! I loved hearing those stories.

Lisa Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM

Kathy will fondly be remembered as Princess Kay of the Milky Way for the year 1962 when she was 19 years old.

Robert Houfburg Sep 26 2018 12:00 AM