Gilbert Theodore Marten, 95, of Ames, Iowa, passed away January 8, 2021, at Israel Family Hospice House in Ames. A gathering of family and friends will be held at a later date with burial taking place at Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Van Meter, Iowa.
Gilbert ("Gil") was born October 20, 1925, in Storm Lake to Roland and Mary Marten. He spent his childhood in Storm Lake and attended Storm Lake High School until he joined the U.S. Army at age 18. Gil served in the Army in Paris from 1944-1946. He was a radio operator and also played trombone and baritone in the Army band, which "played for dances and programs and marched in formation."
Gil met his future wife, Ella Jensen, on a blind date arranged by their mutual piano teacher in Storm Lake, where they both played in the summer band. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1950 with a degree in history. A proud Hawkeye, he played trombone in the marching band.
Gil and Ella were married on July 1, 1951, at Nain Lutheran Church in Newell. They lived in Iowa Falls, Boone, and Ames and had two children, Cynthia and Kai. As Gil said with a smile shortly before he passed, "Raising you kids was great."
As a piano technician in Boone and Ames, Gil tuned hundreds of pianos in central Iowa. He was very active in his field through the Iowa Piano Technicians Guild, which provided opportunities for on-going professional development and connection with other piano technicians around the state. He felt fortunate to be the piano tuner for Stephens Auditorium, which included meeting many musicians such as Andre Watts. Gil was also active in the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association (AIOFA), including serving on the board. He and Ella enjoyed their AIOFA trips to Boston and Tanglewood. Other favorite travel destinations included Paris and Denmark where Gil was able to meet Ella's Danish relatives.
Over the years Gil and Ella were members of Memorial Lutheran Church in Ames where Gil served on various church boards. A life-long musician, Gil played in the Memorial church band and in the Ames Municipal Band for many years. Gil was a voracious reader; he made regular visits to the Ames Public Library to select his books for the upcoming week. He also volunteered with many of the library book sales. Gil was known for his extensive home library. His family quit buying books as gifts, as chances were he already had the book in his collection.
With a passion for following current topics, Gil enjoyed discussing politics and the latest news. ("Turn the channel back to MSNBC!") He was pleased with the outcome of the presidential election and was always aware of what was going on around the U.S. and internationally.
Gil will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered for his very sharp mind and wit, great chuckle, fascinating conversations, and smile on his face whenever talking about his grandchildren.
Gil is survived by children Cynthia Marten (husband Dallas Thies) of Ames and Kai Marten (partner Melinda Riser) of Seattle, WA, and grandchildren Alec Marten of Seattle, Fiona Marten of Portland, OR, and Julian Thies of Westbrook, Maine (wife Haley Thies). He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Ella in 2019.
Memorials can be directed to: University of Iowa Writers Workshop, 507 N Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52245.
Online condolences can be shared at: www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com.
Gil will be missed. He and Ella were mentors to me when I arrived in Ames, Iowa and at Memorial Lutheran Church where both were active and involved members. When he and Ella moved to Northcrest I experienced many wonderful visits with them. He is remembered fondly. Blessings and peace to your family.
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