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Mary L. Martens

January 19, 1927 - April 27, 2021


Mary L MartensMary L MartensMarie (Mary) Genevieve LaFontaine was born on January 19, 1927 in the village of Champlain, NY. She was the second child to George Joseph Leon LaFontaine and Hazel Catherine Matott LaFontaine. Hazel passed away 12 days after Mary was born, so she and her brother Ernest went to live with their grandmother, Catherine Matott, while their father worked in the coal mine. Her father then married Ruth Bernice Ashline in 1929, and Mary welcomed six more brothers and sisters to her family: Carl, Agnes, Pearl, Reginald, Beatrice, and Michael. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, Mary went to New York and, with the help of her uncle, she was hired into a typing pool. She volunteered at the USO where one night a Navy man named Jack Martens came up to her and asked, “Hey, Frenchie, how about a cookie?”—a question that started a WWII love affair lasting in 74 hears of marriage. Once Jack was out of the Navy and their two sons were born, they settled in Salem, OR. Mary was a typist for the Department of Justice where she worked directly for the Attorney General’s office.  She received the department’s Exemplary Service Award from Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer. After 30 years working for the State of Oregon, Mary retired. She and Jack traveled extensively via motorcycle or motorhome, and were square dancers with the Red Hots. They loved to jitter bug and continued to go to the Salem/Keizer Senior Center for Saturday night dancing. Mary had a green thumb and grew orchids for boutonnieres and dahlias that were taller than she was.  She was well known for her cherry pies, family taco nights, and embroidered pillow cases. There was one thing she loved more than shopping and promptly returning—her family—especially her 4 grand-, 8 great-, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Mary passed away peacefully with her husband by her side on April 27, 2021. She is survived by her husband, Jack; son, Mark J. Martens (Kathy); daughter-in-law, Kay Martens; and siblings, Carl, Reginald, Beatrice, and Michael LaFontaine. Mary was preceded in death by her son, Carl J. Martens; and siblings, Ernest LaFontaine, Agnes Frennier, and Pearl Grace. A special thanks to caregiver Cynthia, caregiver/owner Deanna Williams at Aloha Care Home for their utmost kindness and gentleness, and granddaughter/R.N. Tammy, for being who you are. 

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Dearest Jack & Family,
We are shocked and saddened to hear of Mary's passing.  We tried calling, but your number was continuously busy. We don't have your present address so couldn't even send a sympathy card.  We, think of you two so often and the wonderful times we had with you square dancing, taking trips with you in your RV (I'm an old cows hand.....), and socializing in your home and ours.  The memories come flooding back.  We love you and treasure all the good times we had with you and Mary.  May God grant you peace in your time of sorrow.