May 10, 1939 – April 16, 2020
Our beloved Robert David Martens unexpectedly passed from this life on April 16, 2020, at the North Big Horn Hospital. He was 80 years old. He leaves behind numerous loved ones — family and friends alike.
Bob was born at home on May 10, 1939, in Pompeys Pillar, Mont. His family lived briefly in Atkinson, Ill., but returned to Montana when he was 4 years old. He attended Elder Grove School in Billings. Then at the age of 9 his parents moved the family to a farm nine miles west of Forsyth, Mont. It was in Forsyth that Bob met the love of his life, Elsie Cox.
Bob graduated from high school in Forsyth in 1957. He attended Havre College in Montana and received his degree in Diesel Mechanics. After graduation he returned home to the family farm and put his new mechanic skills to use. He was a great asset to the family business.
Between 1960-1961 the Martens family purchased the Little Valley Ranch near Lovell. It was there that Bob and Elsie raised their family. They wed in 1963 in Billings. They made the farm their home and, over many years, raised four wonderful boys.
After the boys grew up, Bob and Elsie welcomed into their home nearly 10 foreign exchange students from Asia and Europe, many of whom they have kept in close contact and became extended members of the family.
Bob willingly served his community. He had a naturally friendly and outgoing spirit. Over his long farming career, he served on the following boards: Growers/Company Joint Beet Research Committee, on which he also served as co-chair for 10 of his 20 years of service, Big Horn Basin Sugar Beet Growers Association, Western Sugar Beet Growers Board (Denver), U.S. Soil Conservation Service from 1979-2002, Farm Home Administration and the University of Wyoming Experiment Station. He was also a member of the United Methodist Church in Lovell.
After Bob’s parents passed on, he and his brothers operated the farm for several more years until its sale in 2015. He and Elsie moved closer to Lovell on property large enough to enable him to continue his love of farming. For several years he grew weed-free certified hay. But he also had other hobbies. Just before his passing, he finished restoring four John Deere tractors intended for each of his sons.
His beloved family members and numerous friends will remember how easily Bob told humorous stories. Some may also remember his days of participating in the square dance circuit, traveling around the state with Elsie when the boys were younger. For all of us, we have lost a wonderful man whose friendliness, kindness and laughter will be remembered and immortalized in our hearts.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Helen (Thatcher) Martens, grandson Nathan Martens, brother-in-law Larry Cox, mother and father-in-law Jesse and Helen (Kuntz) Cox and niece Cindy Cochran (Cox).
He is survived by his wife, Elsie; children Rob (Maria), Roy (Monica), Russ (Lisa) and Ryan (Jessica); grandchildren Bobbie Ann (Josh), Matthew, Hudson, Hayes and Hayden; great-grandchildren James, Hailey and Riley Jo; sisters June Cox and Nancy (Ned) Walker and brothers Bill and Ben. He is also survived by his exchange students Rosie, Lukas and Art and his nieces and nephews: Marty, Terry, Annette, Deseree, Chuck, Jay, Tammi, Leslie, Becky, Jenny and Jesse.
We love you.