Thomas W. Martell, 64Thomas W. Martell, age 64, of Somerset, Wis., died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Aug. 12 following a 19-month battle with cancer.
Thomas W. Martell, age 64, of Somerset, Wis., died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Aug. 12 following a 19-month battle with cancer.
Born Dec. 19, 1947, in St. Paul, Minn., he grew up in Somerset and graduated in the Somerset class of 1965. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17. He enrolled in Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant at age 19. He married Marjorie Ann Watters of Somerset in a military ceremony in Augusta, Ga., on June 2, 1967.
Tom left for Vietnam on April 1, 1968. As a 1st lieutenant, he led a platoon for 6 months and served as a company commander for his remaining 6 months in Vietnam.
He was promoted to captain and resided with his wife, Marjorie, in Fort Lewis, Wash. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1970. A son, Matthew, was born 2 years later.
Martell's Army career spanned more than two decades. During that time, he earned a B.A. from UW-River Falls and an M.A. from Westminster College, Westminster, Md., where he also taught ROTC. The family also lived in Fort Monmouth, N.J.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Hood, Texas; and Germany. The family returned to Somerset in 1986 following Tom's retirement from the Army as a lieutenant colonel. Tom built rental properties and worked in marketing for Preco (then Laser Machining).
An advocate of education and public service, he was a Somerset School Board member from 1987 to 2004, including 16 years as board chair. During that time, the school campus expanded to serve a growing population with a new high school, new elementary school, and renovated middle school. He also served on the WI Indianhead Technical College Board from 1995 to 2000 and was a sustaining member of MN Public Radio.
At age 45, Tom was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 26 years, Marjorie Ann. In 2001, he married Deborah (nee Streuli).
Tom and Deb created and managed a five-acre wine grape vineyard near Somerset called Martell Vineyards. Tom and Deb were known for developing a sense of community among volunteers who joined their annual harvests. Tom was a board member of the MN Grape Growers Association for 10 years, including 6 as president.
Survivors include his loving wife and grape-growing partner of 11 years, Deborah; parents, Lester and Yvonne Martell of Somerset; daughter, Liz, and son-in-law, Ken Walsh, Arlington, Va.; son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Priya, Chicago, Ill.; granddaughters, Clare, Eleanor, Amy and Gemma Walsh; siblings: Sandra (Norm) Hanson, Roseville, Minn.; Dean (Gail) Martell, Whitefish Bay, Wis.; Loren (Karen) Martell, Duluth; Bruce (Heidi) Martell, Somerset; Renee (Chuck) Seaman, Ankeny, Iowa; Cheri (Bob) Olson, Stillwater, Minn.; Brian Martell, Hudson, Wis.; and Scott Martell, Osceola, Wis.; and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by in-laws Don and Pat Streuli of Cumberland, Wis.; Jody Streuli (Jim Rutledge) of Blaine, Minn.; Dan (Mary) Streuli and Jim Streuli, all of Rice Lake, Wis.; Tom (June) Watters and Chuck Watters, all of Dallas, Texas; John (Kathy) Watters and Marcia (Jim) Chandler, all of Somerset; and Bob (Tomasina) Watters of Hudson. He is also survived by long-time friend and hunting partner, Fred Henzler Sr. of Somerset, and, by the world's best lap dog, Chinook, a miniature American Eskimo.
A Celebration of Life for Thomas W. Martell will be held from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, with a time of sharing at 6:30 p.m., at Bradshaw Celebration of Life Center, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Somerset at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, with visitation for 1 hour before the service.
Memorials to St. Anne's Catholic Church or to the MN Grape Grower Association's (MGGA) Elmer Swenson Scholarship Fund for viticulture students.
Arrangements with Bradshaw, 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater, 651-439-5511.
Sign the guestbook (2 comments)
Comments posted on this page do not reflect opinions of Forum Communications Company. Forum Communications Company does not endorse and is not responsible for any statement, opinion, advice given or made. All replies are subject to approval and must follow Forum Communications Company guidelines concerning statements of libel, personal attacks or defamation of character. Replies in the "Talk About It" section that criticize a person by name may not be posted, unless that person is openly involved in a public issue. Comments written in all capital letters or bold print will not be considered for inclusion in the forum.