Jan Martens

Jan Martens

1957 - 2024

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Obituary of Jan Martens

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Jan Martens on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, at the Bethesda Regional Health Centre in Steinbach, Manitoba, after a short but courageous battle with cancer at the age of 66.

She will be deeply missed by her children Chris Martens (Jill), Jenna Sawatzky (Chris), and Kaeli Lanteigne (Tyler), her grandchildren Jerry Jr., Maci, and Wylie Martens, Parker, Hudson, and Ruby Sawatzky, and Gus, Cora, and Lottie Lanteigne. Also left to grieve her passing is her mother Lena Bartel, her siblings Wendy Froese (Dave), Randy Bartel (Sarah), and Arlene Bartel, as well as her dear friend Ruth Gauvreau, who was always like a sister to Jan. She will also be very missed by many nieces and nephews, in-laws, extended family members, and friends.

Jan is now rejoicing in Heaven with her husband, Jerry Martens, who she said goodbye to nearly 25 years ago, as well as her father, Arthur Bartel. We can only imagine how glorious those reunions must have been.

Jan was born on October 3, 1957 at Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg; the first child of Art and Lena Bartel. She lived in Winnipeg until she was in Grade 6 and had many fond memories on Edison Avenue, running around the neighbourhood with all of the local kids until it got dark and their moms started yelling for them to come inside. When Jan was 10, her family moved to Murdock Road, on the outskirts of Winnipeg. She attended Dugald Elementary and then Springfield Junior High and High School. In her last year of high school her family moved to Hazelridge Road. Although she did not live in this home for long, it still held many fond memories for her. Throughout her childhood and youth, her family attended Braeside EMC where Jan was very involved in the youth program. She had many stories and pictures of special memories with her friends and cousins from Braeside youth.

After high school, Jan attended Winnipeg Bible College (now Providence University College) for two years. It was during these years that she met her sweetheart, Jerry Martens. On October 14, 1978, they were married at Braeside EMC. As newlyweds, they lived in Winnipeg for a short time before moving to Blumenort, SK., where Jerry was from. With the exception of two winters spent in Manitoba, where Jerry worked in construction for Art, they lived in Saskatchewan where together they owned and ran a cattle feedlot. While in Saskatchewan, they had their three children, Chris, Jenna, and Kaeli. In 1995, they moved to northern Alberta, where Jerry took a job on a bison ranch and later became the manager of a cattle operation. While it was hard for Jan and Jerry to be away from their families, those years spent in northern Alberta hold many fond memories with dear friends.

On March 3, 1999, Jerry was tragically killed in a farming accident. Although she grieved the loss of the love of her life, she never wavered in her faith in God or her commitment to her children. That fall, she made the difficult decision to move to southern Manitoba to be close to her family. After a short time in Mitchell, she was able to build a home in Kleefeld for her family together with her dad. While in Kleefeld she worked at Misty River Boats and then at Kleefeld EMC as an office administrator. In 2002 she started working at the SRSS as a school secretary. While many kids would not like their mom working at their high school, her  daughters, Jenna and Kaeli loved it. They always knew where to find her when they needed a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, or a couple bucks for fries from the cafeteria. 

In 2017, Jan moved to Steinbach, Manitoba. Shortly after this, she retired from the SRSS. In her retirement years she took much joy in spending time with her grandchildren, playing games, and doing life with her parents and siblings, crocheting, reading, and doing small house projects. 

In July 2023, she received a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma. She soon learned that this cancer was very aggressive and untreatable. Even through this difficult diagnosis, she remained faithful to her Lord. Never once did she say, “Why me?” but rather, “Why not me?”. In the darkness, she was able to see the beauty in this hard situation. Even in her last weeks when she was unable to talk, she had an impact on the healthcare team at Bethesda. We heard over and over from many nurses and health care aids that Jan was a patient they would always remember. She was a prayer warrior and an amazing example of a faithful servant of Christ. In her own quiet way, she showed strength, beauty, dignity, and love. How blessed are we, as her loved ones, to have such an incredible legacy to follow? God is good.

We, as her family, want to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Bethesda Regional Health Centre for their amazing care of Jan and of us.  Specifically Dr. Karen Toews, Dr. Dan Ilchyna, palliative nurse Kim, all of the special nurses and health care aids, and Olga.  You all made this incredibly difficult time as smooth and comfortable as possible.  

The memorial service will be held on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel, Steinbach, MB., with a private family ash interment at Kleefeld Evangelical Mennonite Church Cemetery. To join the family via livestream, please click HERE shortly before the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Bethesda Foundation. 

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Memorial Service

3:00 pm
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Birchwood Funeral Chapel
162 PTH 52 W
Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada
(204) 346-1030

Ash Interment

Kleefeld EMC Cemetery
25121 Rd 35 N
Kleefeld, Manitoba, Canada