Alan C. Martin, 85, of Devils Lake, N.D., died Friday morning, April 19, 2013 at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, Devils Lake with burial in the Christiansen Cemetery, rural Park River, N.D. later in the spring. Rev. David Birkeland and Rev. Cody Schuler will officiate. Visitation will be held at the Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake on Tuesday from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. with a time of remembrance at 7 p.m. with Rev. Sue Mackey officiating. Visitation on Wednesday will be at the church one hour prior to the funeral service.
Rodney Brown, Danny Irmen, Jacob Martin, Don Irmen, Cary Radisewitz, Mark Koehn and Travis Koehn will serve as casket bearers for Alan. Honorary bearers will be William Martin, Philip Martin, Wesley Martin, Roger Martin and Prince Montgomery. Music will be provided by Karen Radisewitz and Donovan Foughty, vocalists and Lynda Pearson, pianist.
Alan Charles Martin was born July 29, 1927 in his family home in Chaffee, N.D., the second of eight children born to late William and Ada (Hacke) Martin. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, just six miles from their farm. He attended Bracht Country Elementary School and graduated from Chaffee High School in 1944 at the tender age of 16. Following his education, he stayed home and worked for two years on the farm. In the fall of 1946 he enrolled at Dakota Business College in Fargo completing his degree in two years. He met Doris Ann Liddle in 1951 on a blind date, and promptly fell in love. After a memorable courtship the “Liddle” girl from Park River and this charming man, with an infectious smile were united in marriage September 20, 1953. The couple made their home in Devils Lake, North Dakota, where he has resided to the present day.
Alan was a Licensed Public Accountant, working with Farmers Union Central Exchange for 60 years. His territory covered a one hundred mile radius of Devils Lake. His passionate belief in cooperatives and the significance of “family farms” began as a child, rooted from his father’s work establishing strong local cooperatives throughout North Dakota, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Farmers Union Central Exchange in St. Paul, Minnesota. In the early years, Alan traveled on gravel roads to the local co-ops, often being gone for a full week due to the distance. His family always anticipated his coming home on Friday’s, as he would conjure up lively activities for the weekend, sometimes to the uneasiness of Doris. Also because he was “on the road” so often he was fortunate to establish life long friendships. Bookkeepers, managers, and members of the boards of directors for local co-ops as well as local business owners, became like family to him. Alan embraced life-long learning and change. While he began his accounting practices with hand written records, and utilizing a 10 key, gradually as technology improved he incorporated fully to computers. He worked tirelessly to establish a program for training bookkeepers, often having them come to a central location for workshops, which produced incredible results. In his words, “I felt I had the best bookkeepers in the state, in my territory.” In 1992, Alan retired, eventually turning over his business to his son John, who had worked with him for 12 years.
Page 2 of 3 - From the time his was a young man Alan loved sports and competition. In his early twenties he and his five brothers formed a baseball team competing in the Cass County League. Alle Babe was the pitcher; stories abound at the many memories that were made. He followed the New York Yankees, but couldn’t watch the games because they made him too nervous. Being an avid outdoorsman he enjoying fishing, hunting, and camping. Family camping trips were common, traveling to many states and Canada. He once boasted, he could put up a tent in nine minutes flat! Nomadic travel with seven or eight people in a car produced many “adventures”. Alan was very inclusive and was always delighted to bring friends along on these escapades. He was known for his mischievous nature, the twinkle in his eye and his captivating smile that got him out of more than one predicament over the years. He was a dedicated supporter of the Green Bay Packers.
In 1968 Alan, forever a humanitarian was instrumental in the facilitation of “Friendly Town” in North Dakota a project that began in Chicago in conjunction with The Marillac House. It’s objective was to provide Chicago children with a chance to experience life outside the inner city, and host families to gain a new appreciation of interracial awareness. Three of these young people stayed in touch and continue to be a blessing to this day. Alan served on several boards, acted as treasurer for his churches, and recently instigated a scholarship at Lake Region State College in business for individuals interested in management of rural cooperatives.
Alan loved to experience new people and places; he was inspired by nature and valued its beauty in every season. He and Doris traveled extensively by car and popup camper. They visited friends and relatives all over the United States, including Alaska and Canada, often taking their grandchildren along. For fourteen years, after he retired they went south to the hill country of Texas for the winter. In 2000 at the urging of his wife, he wrote his biography so that his children and grandchildren might gain insight, and knowledge into the lives of their ancestors’. He and Doris became the go-to people for the revitalization of the little Christiansen Cemetery near Park River, N.D., and worked fervently to make physical improvements and secure donations to cover yearly maintenance fees. He desperately wanted this legacy for the next generation.
He often related stories of growing up on the North Dakota plains, tales of walking or riding bareback to school with his sisters’ and brothers’, baseball games, chores and other responsibilities of farm life. He was an ardent supporter of his family, but didn’t hesitate to lay down the law when necessary. From early on it was instilled in him to serve, to leave things a little better than you found them, and to always do your very best. He was impeccable with his word and held himself and this family to a higher standard. He truly loved people, seeing the best in them, and respecting their individuality. Recently when he was reflecting on his many close friendships, he recounted how blessed he felt by others and the extent to which they touched his life. Finally, he did the most essential thing for his children in revering and loving their mother. Their love story lasted 55 years and continues to be the best example of a well-maintained marriage. He will be remembered for his quiet strength and strong enthusiastic spirit.
Page 3 of 3 - He was a long time member of United Methodist Church in Devils Lake, N.D.
He is survived by his children; Ann (Don) Irmen; Nancy (Mark) Koehn all of Fargo; Karen (Cary) Radisewitz of Luverne, Minn., Daniel Martin of Avon, Colo.; and John (Kathy) Martin of Devils Lake. 11 grandchildren, Beth (Josh) Oien, Laura (John) Pitzl, Danny (Katy) Irmen; Travis (Jennifer) Koehn, Nikole and Haley Koehn; Jessie (Denis) Paquette, Leah Radisewitz, Alyssa (Nathan) Domagala; Kara and Jacob Martin. Twelve Great-Grandchildren: Jack and Grant Oien, Charles, Patrick, and William Pitzl, Taylor Irmen, Tyler Koehn, Mckinley and Kyndle Paquette, Kullen Radisewitz-Schear, Archer and Berkley Domagala; his Chicago children, Prince (Nina) Montgomery, Finest Hatcher, and Blanch Quinn; Four brothers, Bill (Verona) Martin of Chaffee, Wesley (Verna) Martin Carrington, N.D., Philip (Darlene) Martin, Andover, Minn., and Roger (Pauline) Martin, Napoleon, N.D., two sisters, Virginia (Leon) Johnson, Fargo, Rose (Pat) Markovic, Wilmington, Del.; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and wonderful friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris; parents, William and Ada Martin; and brother and sister in law, Calvin and Mae Martin.
Friends may sign the online register book and share memories of Al at www.gilbertsonfuneralhome.com
Gilbertson Funeral Home, Devils Lake, is in charge of arrangements.