Obit: Martens, Helen Mary (1921 - 2006)
Contact:  Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Martens, Smagacz, Summers, Ott, Dodge, Bartlett, Semmens, Filipiak, Tomsyck, Johnson

----Sources: Banner Journal (Black River Falls, Jackson Co, WI) September 6, 2006

Martens, Helen Mary (August 24, 1921 - August 23, 2006)

Helen M. Martens, age 84, of Elgin, IL, passed away Wednesday, August 23, 2006, at Provena St. Joseph Hospital, with family at her side. She was one day shy of her 85th birthday.

Helen Mary Smagacz was born in Pray August 24, 1921, the daughter of Frank and Victoria Smagacz. She was raised in the Pray area until moving to Elgin in her early 20s. She married Harry Martens February 8, 1947, in Elgin and became the mother of nine children. Her oldest son Harry, Jr. passed away in 1962; her daughter, Gloria Summers, in 1990; and her husband, Harry, passed away in 1975.

Survivors include one daughter, Mary (Jeffrey) Ott of Elgin; six sons, Robert (Hope) Martens of Pingree Grove, IL, Richard, John, Thomas (Terri), Greg and David Martens of Elgin; 18 grandchildren, Bill, Amy and Jennifer Martens, Dawn (Mike) Semmens, Jeffrey, Brian and Carrie Ott, Richard Jr. and Stacy Martens, Misty (Dwight) Dodge, Tony (Mary Ann) Bartlett, Trish and Tim Martens, Melissa, Brandon and Michael Martens and Tony and Cristina Martens; six great-grandchildren, Kasey and Mike Semmens, Fallyn and Journey Martens, Lyndsey Dodge and Aiden Bartlett; two sisters, Sophie Filipiak of Chicago and Josephine Tomsyck of Pittsville; one brother, Frank (Gerry) Smagacz of Chicago Ridge, IL, as well as several nieces and nephews and their families.

Besides her parents, husband and two children, she was preceded in death by three brothers, Louis, Stanley and Joseph; two sisters-in-law, Barbara Smagacz and Lorraine Smagacz; two brothers-in-law, Donald Tomsyck and Joseph Filipiak; and one son-in-law, L. B. Summers.

The funeral mass was held Monday, August 28, at St. Laurence Catholic Church with Fr. Joseph F. Kulak officiating. Burial was in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Helen loved her family unconditionally and her children, grandchildren and "greats" were devoted to her. She held a special place in the hearts of her extended family, including her "adopted kids," her nephew and niece, Jim Smagacz of Neillsville and Lori (Smagacz) Johnson, of Hixton, and the many children she cared for over the years.

Never forgetting her Wisconsin farming roots, she was able to make a last visit to the family farm in Pray several months ago. She was proud of her Polish heritage, stayed true to the Green Bay Packers, but adopted the Chicago Bulls and Cubs as her favorite basketball and baseball teams. She kept up on the news - even with failing eyesight, there was always a local paper delivered every day and the Banner Journal every week. She collected music boxes and anything pigs. She was especially fond of Wisconsin strawberries, blueberries, apples, cranberries and cheese. She enjoyed swapping recipes and collecting cookbooks and was famous for her banana bread. Aunt Helen was always ready to hop in the car to go for a ride for visiting, shopping and general mischief when her niece Lori (of Hixton), came to town. She was a strong woman who did not let her many health issues prevent her from leading a full and happy life. She will be missed by all of those who knew and loved her.



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