Marvin “Marv” Martinson
Marvin Merle Martinson died peacefully at his home surrounded by family on February 14, 2023, at age 85 after being diagnosed last year with bone marrow cancer and congestive heart failure.
An eternal optimist who loved people and the adventures of life, Marvin embraced his roles as husband, father, grandpa, business owner and community leader with enthusiasm.
Marvin was born August 8, 1937, to Magnus and Mabel (Moseng) Martinson in the Montevideo Hospital and was raised on the family farm northwest of Starbuck. Marvin graduated from Starbuck High School in 1955. While roller skating one night at age 16, he professed to cousin Burdell Benson that he had just met the girl he would marry. That prediction came true six years later when he married his sweetheart, DeLois Marie Dahlgren, at Kensington Covenant Church on May 23, 1959.
Marvin and DeLois built an amazing life together centered around their family, business and church. After a first job at State Bank of Cyrus which Marv called his “college education,” Marv and DeLois moved to Alexandria where they established Martinson Insurance Agency in October 1962, with son Cal joining the agency in 1982, and son Keith joining in 2022. Marv never officially retired and continued having appointments until a few months before passing. He truly enjoyed working with his office staff and serving customers, and was thrilled to reach the milestone of 60 years in business.
Church and faith were hallmarks of Marvin’s life. He and DeLois were among the earliest members of Alexandria Covenant Church, and his many roles included youth leader, Sunday school superintendent, financial secretary, church chair, and choir member. Marv and DeLois spotted a piece of land south of Alexandria, and they were instrumental in proposing the purchase of the property which has been the church location since 1979. Marvin served as building committee chair three times, for the original building project and two additions.
A man of vision, he had the ability to see a blank slate and envision what it could become. He loved sketching on napkins at the table during dinner conversation. One such idea became Cedar Hills Mobile Home Park which the family operated for a decade. He also partnered with in-laws Robert and Alice Dahlgren to open D&M Discount Furniture in Kensington.
Marv was a valued participant at committee meetings, providing a consistent voice of reason and serving as peacemaker during discussions. His community involvement included Chamber of Commerce president, Runestone Museum president, American Cancer Society, Cornerstone Youth Center, Vikingland Band Festival and the Chamber’s Country Music Shows. While serving on the Alexandria City Council, he led the effort to do away with parking meters on downtown streets. He also served in the Minnesota National Guard for eight years.
Marv was a great cheerleader and supporter of the wide-ranging interests of his three sons, whether Cal’s work with sound, snow removal and farming; Ken’s passion for event planning, puppetry and marching bands; or Keith’s entrepreneurship with music, marketing and canoes.
A significant activity that incorporated the skills of everyone in the family was the Martinson Family Puppeteers. Marv served as emcee for the traveling puppet team which performed more than 200 times in the late ‘70s to early ‘80s. Marv joked that after 20 years in business but only five years doing puppets he was more well known as “the puppet guy” than “the insurance guy.”
Marvin was fond of his Norwegian heritage, especially since it was the language he spoke at home until he started attending country school. He visited Norway twice where he was able to visit relatives and see his roots first-hand. He was fond of cars, especially the ‘57 Chevy and any white vehicle which he kept meticulously clean. He loved mowing and plowing snow with his Kubota tractor, and any other project he could find for it.
Marv and DeLois enjoyed 51 years of marriage until DeLois passed away from mantle cell lymphoma in 2010. The family held wonderful celebrations for their 25th and 50th anniversaries.
In 2012, Marvin married Sharon (Ricke) Olson and during their five years together enjoyed making memories including sunset pontoon rides and camping with Sharon’s children and their families. Marvin went through the pain of losing a spouse to cancer a second time when Sharon passed away in 2017.
In 2019, Marvin married Karen Hildebrandt who was always up for trip adventures with the motorhome and whose green thumb turned the backyard landscaping into a showplace. He greatly appreciated Karen’s companionship and attentive caregiving as his health declined.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife DeLois, and wife Sharon.
Marvin is survived by his wife Karen; three sons, Calvin of Alexandria and his children Kristian and Emily; Kenneth of Nashville, Tennessee; Keith (Jennifer) of Alexandria and their children Judd (Katy), Jeremiah, Joseph and Jensen; four brothers, Dennis (Karen) of Glenwood; Ronald (Maria) of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; Clifford (Patricia) of Big Lake; Lowell (Jennifer) of Palo Cedro, California; many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews; and extended family that Marvin loved and welcomed through marriage to Sharon and Karen.
Memorials are preferred to Pike Lake Cemetery or the Alexandria Covenant Property Fund.
A celebration of Marv’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, February 20, 2023, at Alexandria Covenant Church in Alexandria with Rev. Trinity Opp and Rev. Gregg Donnelly presiding. Lunch will follow the service followed by interment at Pike Lake Cemetery, Kensington.
Visitation is 4-7 p.m., Sunday at Lind Family Funeral Home in Alexandria and will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.
Arrangements provided by Lind Family Funeral & Cremation Services, www.lindfamilyfh.com