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Marion's Story

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Marion E. Maertens, 94, of Mankato, died Friday, August 4, 2017 at Cottagewood Senior Communities.
A Celebration of Marion's Life will be held at 6:30 p.m., Friday, August 11, 2017 at Northview ~ North Mankato Mortuary. A gathering of family and friends will begin at 4:00 p.m. at Northview. Please share a memory of Marion with her family and view her video tribute online at www.mankatomortuary.com.
Marion was born November 29, 1922 in La Crosse, WI to Alva and Hazel Clark. Due to her father's employment with the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, her early childhood was spent in several southern Minnesota towns before the family settled for a time in Ghent, MN. While in Ghent, 13-year old Marion told 18-year old Lawrence Maertens that she was going to marry him. Upon graduating high school in 1940, that's exactly what she did! Their marriage produced 6 children and continued for 69 years, until Larry's death in 2009.
After Larry's return from World War II, the family moved to Mankato. Marion started college at age 43 while raising six kids and working part-time as a waitress. She graduated magna cum laude from Mankato State College in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology, Social Work and Special Education. The most traumatic part of her Undergraduate studies was having to take Algebra. Marion was so befuddled by this "new math" that she enlisted a neighborhood high school student to tutor her. She ultimately received a 'C' in Algebra, the first "C" she received, which made her as happy as any 'A' she earned! Upon receiving her degree, she went to work as a Speech Therapist at Faribault State Hospital. In 1976, she was hired as the first Director of the Robert E. Miller (REM) homes for the developmentally disabled in Mankato. In 1981, at the age of 58, she earned her Master's degree in Special Education from Mankato State University. After retiring as REM's director, she continued to work there part-time as a cook because she loved being around the residents and staff.
Marion had many personal interests and pursuits. An avid reader and speller, she was tough to beat in Scrabble! She entered many Senior Spelling Bees, becoming a state champion. Marion loved playing cards and all manner of games, especially with her children and grandchildren. Both Marion and Larry loved to travel, making many trips to Europe, as well as around the U.S. and Canada. They made a regular practice of having international dinners with the friends they traveled with. Along with Larry, Marion volunteered for many years at VINE, Faith in Action and the Salvation Army. She was also active politically, cancelling Larry's vote for president every 4 years! And, she always loved spending time with her grandchildren, particularly at Lake Francis.
Marion had a unique and uncanny ability to make people feel loved, special and important, which explains why she was beloved both by those who worked for her at REM and those who cared for her at Cottagewood. She sowed respect and honor into those she dealt with and she reaped them in abundance from those who loved her.
Marion Elizabeth Clark Maertens is survived by her daughters, Sandy (Vern) Prechel of Waseca and Mary Maertens (Sean Holland) of Seattle, WA; sons, Tom (Silvia) and Tim (Peggy), both of Mankato; 16 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Ronald, Otis and Delmer; sisters, Lorna and Loretta; her husband, Lawrence; and daughters, Patricia and Jeana.
The family would like to extend their thanks to the staff at Cottagewood for the wonderful care they provided during Marion's 6 years there.
Memorials are preferred to VINE, Faith in Action.
Published on August 8, 2017
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