Elmer E. Martell, age 91, of
Menasha, passed away on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at the Wisconsin
Veterans Home in King. Elmer was born on November 10, 1923 in Menasha
to the late Joseph and Rose Martell, Elmer was a distinguished high
school athlete and played football under Coach Nathan Calder.
from Menasha High School in 1941, he enlisted and served with the 82nd
Airborne 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).
He was part of the
first wave to parachute into Normandy in the early hours of June 6,
1944. Of his l6 man jump squad, he was one of only two men not killed
in the operation. Amid the chaos, he was dropped in the wrong location
amid over whelming German forces. Elmer evaded capture until daylight,
but spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalags located in Poland
His incredible wartime experiences over the next ten months read
like fiction. Days after his capture, he was stood against a wall and
nearly executed for secretly retaining a hand grenade, as Elmer put,
"in case I needed it.
He returned to the United
States after the defeat of Germany, and was en route to participate
in the invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb ended the Pacific War.
Elmer served proudly and bravely,
though the horrors of war remained with him throughout his life. He
was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. In 2013 he was awarded the
“Prisoner of War Medal" He was a proud member of Menasha Veterans
of Foreign Wars Post 2126.
On December 2, 1950, Elmer married Rachel
M. Klatt at St Margaret Mary Church in Neenah. He was a press scheduler
at American Can Company in Menasha until he retired in 1980.
his retirement he lived an active life, planting trees, hiking, and
fishing at his beloved cottage on the Pine River in Florence County
and spending time with children, grandchildren, and friends. Deer hunting
with the old gang was always a highlight of his year.
For years, he
and Rachel enjoyed traveling around tne country attending the reunions
of the 508 PIR. Elmer was a kind and friendly man with a great sense
of humor. He was always willing to help others and share a small joke
that would bring a smile. He kept in touch with many lifelong friends.
He could easily strike up a conversation with a stranger in a restaurant
or store. He was a generous person, freely helping friends, relatives,
and children with projects, moves, and child
He was sensitive; was able to cry
in life's sad moments and said, “I love you” often.
Elmer loved to read,
keep up on current events, watch the Packers and golf. He and Rachel
shared a love of dogs.
Elmer is survived by his wife, Rachel, and
their seven children and spouses: Margaret (Paul) Reichert, William
(Rose) Martell, Barbara (Gary) Heidmann, Patricia (Steven Cleaiy) Martell-Cleary,
Joseph (Julia) Martell, Karen (Guy) Smith, and Thomas (Kathy Kinney)
Martell. Elmer was grandfather to: Robin (Samantha) Synhorst,
(Cali) Kellerman, Rachel Reichert, Anemone (Scott) Beaulier, Daniel
(Anna) Martell, Peter (Beth) Martell; Madeline and Clare Martell,
and Cora and Gavin Martell. Elmer had 8 great-grandchildren: Vitoria
and Marjorie Synhorst, Lilia and Roma Beaulier, Greyson Martell, Ethan
and Brandt Martell, and Olive Kellerman.
He is further survived by two sisters: Sister
Lillian Martell and Sister Marion Martell; sisters- in-law: Lois Klatt,
Linda Klatt, Eva Martell, Lynn Klatt, Pat (Paul) Martell; a brother-in-law,
Fred Klatt; and many nieces, nephews other family and friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded
in death by his sisters: Rose, Melania (Harry) Resch,
Florence (Ned) Swan, Lorraine (Dr.
Edward) Meyer; an infant brother, Joseph; and brothers: John (Florence) Martell, Paul Martell and Richard Martell; his sisters-in-law:
Ruth (Don) Ninneman and Susan Klatt; and brothers-in-law: David and
A Memorial Mass will be held
at 11:00am on Saturday, January 24, 2015, at St. Patrick Catholic Church,
324 Nicolet Blvd in Menasha. A Memorial Gathering will be held from
9:00am until the time of the Mass at the church. Military Honors will
follow the Mass. Inurnment will take place in St. Mary Cemetery in the
Town of Menasha in the Spring of the year. In lieu of flowers, memorials
will be donated to the Salvation Army and the local animal shelters.
Elmer's family extends their
heartfelt gratitude to the staff from the
Wisconsin Veterans Home in King
and TkedaCare Hospice for their loving and devoted care of Elmer
during his last
months of life.
“May the Good Lord bless and keep
you till we meet again'’
[The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) · Wed, Jan 21, 2015 ·
Main Edition · Page C7]