Harold Martens passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 8, 2023 at the Meadows in Swift Current, SK at the age of 81 years.
Harold Arthur Martens was born in Herbert, SK on Sept 8, 1941 to Eugene and Lydia Martens. In 1944, his parents bought land along the Swift Current Creek south of the 17 mile bridge, moving there in 1945 with their family. Harold attended school in Caronport in grade 1 and 2, during the months his father was attending Bible school. It was there that he learned to skate and his love of hockey began. This is also where Harold made the decision to commit his life to God, and later was baptized the summer of 1950 in the creek by the 17 mile bridge. Schooling continued at Leonard school, Diamond Hills school, and Stewart Valley school when arriving home. Playing ball was a highlight at recess, and riding to and from school often included some friendly racing that the horses loved as much as the kids! They took the light horse team in the winter with the bobsleigh, which was also a peppy ride at times. Playing organized hockey began in Stewart Valley in high school, and Harold was the fastest one on skates - the hockey was intense, just how he liked it!
Growing up on the ranch was exciting. There were chores to do, horses to ride, and things to rope - including the chickens and the hired man’s feet, both protested with vengeance! With five siblings, there was never a shortage of adventures to be had.
Harold was a man of passion, determination and enthusiasm. Whether it was driving the school bus (at age 17!), driving the new John Deere tractor, learning to be a cowboy, plowing snow, farming or ranching, he made every effort to do his best.
Harold married the joy and love of his life, Sylvia Schroeder, on August 21, 1966. They were blessed with 3 sons: Tony, Chad and Joe.
He spent his life ranching northeast of Swift Current in partnership with two of his siblings, Gordon (Sonya) Martens and Julie (Curt) Chickoski and their families. Many of the challenges he faced in life were met with determination and a sense of responsibility, always leaning on the strength and wisdom he gained from trusting in God. When his father passed away tragically in 1973, he shouldered the responsibility and worked to continue what his dad had begun at the ranch and in his family. A hockey incident that permanently injured his left leg as a teenager was met with a determination to play goal instead of center, leaving bitterness and blame behind and choosing forgiveness instead. He was an example of a problem-solving, grace-extending, faith-filled man.
Harold entered the arena of politics with a passion to serve his constituents. He became a council member for the municipality, then a Reeve, then a director of the SARM and ultimately a Member of the Legislative Assembly in 1982. For 13 years he served his constituents with the same passion he displayed for everything else in his life. Many hours were spent traveling and communicating. The highlight of those years was working with Premier Grant Devine as the Associate Minister of Agriculture and Food.
Although they moved off the ranch and into Swift Current in 2003, he continued to demonstrate his commitment to the agriculture sector by participating and leading various committees and boards, and by connecting with numerous producers in the southwest as a farm equipment salesman. He most recently served as the Reeve of the RM of Excelsior (1999 to 2022), and was heavily involved with the South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards, Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and Brand Inspection Services Advisory Committee. He thrived as an agent of change on behalf of Saskatchewan’s farm and ranch industry.
Harold’s passion for life also showed itself in many ways outside of his work. His church was always a focal point and his relationship with God took top priority. He served in leadership roles at church throughout the years, and took his role as spiritual leader in the home seriously. There were many lively discussions with family over meals together, and he loved the interactions he had with his grandchildren. He prayed for his family daily and loved to hear about the ways that God was interacting with each of them. He would often respond with stories of how God was working in his own life, which often included life lessons to be learned. You knew he was getting intense when he made his point by raising his index finger and punctuating his sentences with just the right amount of emphasis!
Harold rested in the assurance that he was saved by grace through faith alone. As a family we rejoice that he is whole and pain free, eternally in the presence of his Lord and Saviour!
Harold is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sylvia Martens; his children, Tony (Michelle) Martens of Dalmeny, SK, Chad (Mona) Martens of Swift Current, SK, Joe (Honey) Martens of Swift Current, SK; grandchildren, Janna, McKinley, Danae, Zachary, Chase, Lincoln, Charmayne; siblings, Gordon (Maureen) Martens, Ruth Martens, Dorothy Martens, Julie (Curt) Chickoski; cousin, Dorothy (Richard) Weetman; sister and brother in-laws, Alvina (Ed) Rempel, Alfred Schroeder, Pauline (Dean) Power; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Eugene and Lydia Martens; his parents-in-law, David and Elizabeth Schroeder; his sister, Marina Bergen; sister and brother in laws, John Bergen, Sonya Martens, Arnold and Doreen Schroeder, Annabelle and Menno Martens, and Dorothy Schroeder. Every family member was precious to him, and he mourned the loss of those in his extended family that passed on before him.
The Funeral Service for Harold Martens was held on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 2:00 pm from Bridgeway Community Church, Swift Current, SK with Pastor Bob Cappelle officiating. “To God Be the Glory” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness” were sung by the congregation under the leadership of Lionel & Jane Martens. Tributes were given by Chad Martens and by Harold’s grandchildren. Psalm 27 was read by Tony Martens. A photo presentation was given by Janna Martens. The Honorary Pallbearers were the members of Harold & Sylvia’s Church Life Group, Hildor & Shirley Braun, Bob & Betty Cappelle, Lorraine Funk, Erwin & Lisa Reimer, and Dave & Marg Wieler.
The service was recorded and can be viewed here on YouTube or down below, the service bulletin is also available to view below.
A Private Family Interment Service will take place at a later date.
In memory of Harold Martens, donations made to West Bank Bible Camp would be appreciated by the family
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harold Martens, please visit our floral store.
West Bank Bible Camp
Box 1841, Swift Current SK S9H 4M6