The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 16, 2013

Elda (Wiebe) Martens

Published 7-17-13


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Elda (Wiebe) Martens was born to Henry and Emma (Friesen) Wiebe in Corn, Okla., on Nov. 17, 1931, and passed away on Monday, July 15, 2013, at home in Fairview, Okla.

Elda graduated from Corn Bible Academy.

She moved to Fairview when she married Henry Martens on Oct. 14, 1949.

Elda often told stories of the family’s move to California during the “Grapes of Wrath” movement, when her father was unable to find employment in Corn, Okla. She had many fond memories of the time in California, but also talked about the hardships people suffered due to a lack of work. She told of the family’s excitement when they were able to return to Corn and live near family again.

Elda was a homemaker who also took time to become involved in numerous projects. She was a licensed pilot, a charter member of the Fairview Flight Club, and a participant in the formation of the first Fairview free fly-in in 1952. Henry and Elda were active members of the International Flying Farmers organization.

In 1969, when Matthew was two years old, she decided to start a day care center in her home, to provide him social interaction with other small children. This day care center became Learn and Play, the first commercial day care center in Fairview, which she ran in partnership with Kris Gosney. She was always excited to see the successes of the children that she had cared for over the years and was pleased when they would remember her after they had become adults.

Elda was a member of the steering committee and a charter board member for the first Oklahoma Mennonite Relief Sale in 1978, and a member of the steering committee that started Bible school for pre-school children, called Nursury Fair, at the Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church.

Elda was a master quilter, who was fascinated with vintage fabrics, and received great pleasure from creating quilts from these fabrics. Her abilities as a quilter provided her and Henry the opportunity to travel across the United States and Canada giving quilt presentations. She told stories of how quilts had touched her life, were a part of family histories, the values of retaining those histories, and the evolution of quilting over the decades. She was especially pleased that she was able to present her experience of receiving the salvation of Jesus Christ at each presentation through her quilt stories.

Henry and Elda had the opportunities to travel the world. They traveled to Europe many times to visit family and friends, as well as Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit Joyce, who was living and working there. Elda was thankful of the opportunities for exposure to other cultures and peoples, and the effects it had in her outlook on life and the world around her.

As a result of travels and seeing other cultures, Elda became involved in sewing for relief. She sewed comforters for people in Oklahoma as well as foreign countries, who had needs as a result of misfortune or disaster. She was very involved with friends in making school kits, distributed by Mennonite Central Committee to children around the world.

Elda is survived by her husband, Henry Martens of Fairview; sons, John and wife Linda Martens, and Paul and wife Lori Martens of Fairview; daughter, Joyce Martens of Fairview; sister, Grace Sawatzky of Weatherford, Okla.; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Elda was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Emma Wiebe; brother, Vernon Wiebe; sister, Elsie Wiebe; and son, Matthew Reed Martens.

A memorial service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20, 2013, at Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church. Arrangements by Pierce Funeral home, Fairview.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mennonite Central Committee for the school kit project, through Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church, 1600 E. State Road, Fairview, OK 73737.

Condolences online at www.haiglerpierce.com.

(Submitted by family)