Henry Martens, age 78 years, of Steinbach, MB, passed away on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Bethesda Regional Health Centre, Steinbach, MB.
He is survived by his wife Cathy, one daughter, one son, three sisters, one brother and their families.
Henry was predeceased by his parents George and Margaret Martens.
Dad was born March 21, 1941 in Winnipeg MB to George & Margaret Martens. He was the 3rd of 5 children.
Dad attended Elim Bible school in Altona for 1 year. This was a memory that he often talked about. I believe that he was there for the socializing part much more then the studying part. Friendships were always very important to Dad.
When Dad was still single he lived in Winnipeg and worked at Dominion Motors. He figured if he would run to work he could get there the same time as if he would take the bus. That way he would get some exercise plus save some money. A story that he often told us was how Dominion Motors flew him out to Toronto to go pick up 3 trucks and drive them back to Winnipeg. He drove one truck and the other 2 were piggy backed on the back. On his way home the truck he was driving broke down. The wiring melted and the truck could have easily started on fire. So he took out the bad wiring from the truck he was driving and took out the good wiring from one of the other trucks. Then he put the good wiring into the truck he needed to drive. Of course that was long before the days of cell phones and he certainly had no help from Google. He was always very proud of this accomplishment. He also mentioned many times that he still had the suitcase that he quickly went to purchase before he left for this trip.
Mom and Dad met at moms sisters wedding. They were both attendants at this wedding. The groom was a good friend of dads. They married September 7th – 1968. Shortly after that they purchased a farm east of Steinbach. Dad said many times that when he first bought the farm – he truly thought he had made a horrible investment. And if someone would have come along and wanted to buy this property – he would have gladly sold it. Mom and Dad both worked very hard to make the farm what it was. They sold the farm the spring of 2018. They owned it for exactly 50 years. However – Dad was absolutely incorrect with believing that the farm would be a horrible investment.
August 24, 1970 Mom and Dad started a new chapter in their lives, this was parenting. Ralph Brian was born.
November 15, 1972 Wanda Gail became a part of the family.
The word frugal is definitely a word that comes to mind when I think about dad. Mom and Dad lived extremely frugally in their early years to pay off the debt from the farm. This was a hard habit for Dad to break as time went on and money wasn’t so scarce.
Dad did not grow up going to church as a young boy. But when his family moved to Randolph they started to attend Steinbach Mennonite Church. Once Mom and Dad married – they continued attending the same church. In the early 90s Mom and Dad switched to a smaller church that Wanda had become a member of – Gospel Fellowship Church. It was here that Dad developed some friendships that he truly cherished and became extremely dear to him.
Feb 26th, 2002 Ralph’s daughter Raya was born. Making our small family a little bigger.
September 20, 2003 Wanda married Carl Bueckert. His 3 children also joined the family. Chenoah, Joshua and Dawson. This almost doubled our small family.
Traveling was also something that Dad always enjoyed. We did two more major road trips as a family. Once we drove down to Florida and once to California. Of course Dad figured we could be gone for much longer and would spend much less money if we would drive instead of fly. So we packed up our trusty 2 tone brown half ton truck and headed south. I remember stopping in at Las Vegas and Dad just could hardly believe how cheap the rooms were. I clearly remember him asking the lady at the counter if she was really sure that the price was so cheap.
Dad also purchased a little used truck camper. I’m not sure if it cost extra to make a camping reservation back then or why we didn’t make reservations – but it seemed like often our first night of our trip was often spent in a campground parking lot just outside of the campground. Early the next morning dad would get up and start driving around the campground to see if he could find an open site to park in. This was all done while the rest of us 3 were still sleeping in the back of the camper. This also took place in the trusty 2 tone brown half ton truck. Mom and Dad also did some more traveling by themselves and with friends. One trip they often talked about was their trip that they took to Hawaii with their good long-term friends Gene and Mary Nickle. The last bigger vacation they were able to take was a trip to Cuba with Carl and Wanda in 2015. Dads health was starting to fail already by the time of this trip. He made darn sure that his insurance he purchased would cover his health situation – should something happen.
Dad always appreciated when people where real and authentic and didn’t try to hide their faults. He always said – don’t try to make me sound like a perfect person at my funeral. Marriage wasn’t always an easy adventure for Mom and Dad. However they never gave up on each other. They demonstrated to their kids what it means to be committed through the good and bad. Also during Dad and Ralphs earlier years they really struggled to get along. However in Dads last years Dad and Ralphs relationship turned into something beautiful. They spent many evenings talking on the phone for long periods of time.
Dad also enjoyed restoring some older vehicles and tractors in his later years. His first project was a 49 Ford truck. He also purchased back the original car that Mom and Dad had dated in. A 1960 Mercury Montcalm which he also restored. It was very important to Dad that it was restored only according to its original state. He never did manage to find the hood ornament from the correct year of this car. He refused to put on the ornament from the year before or the year after. Dad was always a little sentimental. When dad was going through papers before moving off the farm he somehow managed to find the receipt from the first time he had purchased the car.
Dads faith was something he also talked about often. He knew that God had blessed him and he wanted to bless others in return out of his thankfulness.
Dads heart failure issues started approximately 9 years ago. Dad came extremely close to death at that time. With his last bit of energy he called his brother Abe to come help. I was always so thankful that Uncle Abe answered Dads call and came so quickly to help. Shortly after this event Dad had a pacemaker and defibrillator inserted. It always seemed like time with dad after that day in 2011 was always a bonus. Dads heart, lungs and prostrate were all enlarged in his later years. The last 3 years of his life were hard years with being in and out of hospitals and attending many doctors appointments. However Dad wanted to live!! He listened to everything the doctors told him to do! He told me awhile ago that he thought that he was becoming a popular person at St Boniface hospital. I asked why? He said I think I’m starting to be known as the man who never dies. He was definitely a repeat customer in the ICU at St B. Approximately every 2.5 months over the last 3 years his lungs would fill up with fluid. He would then spend approximately 2 weeks in St Boniface hospital. Through the last years it had been mentioned to him that there was a new procedure out – called a Mitral Valve Clip that might possibly be able to help with one of his heart issues. This procedure is not done anywhere in Manitoba – so we new that it would be a complicated matter to fight to get this done. However his first cardiologist told him that it wouldn’t actually work for his situation. So our hope’s were dashed. Soon after that Dad got a new cardiologist who mentioned the clip procedure again. September 25, 2019 was the last time dads lungs filled. Dad told the doctors that he wasn’t going home until they sent him to Toronto to get the clip procedure done. One day he texted to say that they had transferred him to the 6th floor. I asked him what are you doing on the 6th floor – he had never been there before! I asked him if this is where they send the stubborn people who refuse to go home? His stubbornness paid off! October 16, 2019 Dad and I (Wanda) were flown out to Toronto in our own private jet. The next day dad had the surgery. The doctor was very pleased with how the surgery went. He inserted 2 clips and told us that if dad could make it for 6 months without his lungs filling up again- then he could likely live for quite awhile. He made it 5 months. Dad always worried about how he would actually pass. And Mom didn’t want Dad to pass away beside her in bed. So on Mar 19th – 2 days before his 79th birthday Dad got out of bed, walked to the bathroom, closed the door, and collapsed on the floor. And now he is in heaven with a brand new perfect heart. We will all miss Dad. And he will forever have a special place in our hearts.
And so today we thank you very much for being here with us today as we celebrate the life of our husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
A Come & Go Visitation will be held on Monday, March 23, 2020 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB.
Due to the Covid-19 virus a private family service will be held on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB, for immediate family and by invitation only. Burial will follow at Heritage Cemetery, Steinbach, MB. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.
If friends so desire, donations in memory of Henry may be made to Canadian Foodgrains Bank.