Tuesday, January 2, 2018
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Charity of Choice
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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Charles Martens made the most of the days he was given while holding his loved ones near. He was a hardworking man of honor who loved being outdoors and bringing new life to barren land. Charles was deeply devoted to his family, and he was thrilled to witness his family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made him so very proud. Someone who preferred to be active, he experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer, but what made these experiences extraordinary was sharing them with the ones he loved. A friend to many, Charles will be forever missed.
The 1950s were an exciting time in America. Televisions brought shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best into our living rooms while Elvis transformed the music world with his new rock ’n roll music. Civil rights were gaining momentum while by the decade’s end we had welcomed Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this eventful time was a time of celebration as Charles was born to Kenneth and Ellen (Valkner) Martens on September 29, 1957, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was the youngest of four children, joining his sisters, Janet, Jean, and Lillian in his family, and he was nearly 20 years younger than his next closest sibling. To support their family, Charles’ father worked as a CPA while his mother was a waitress who also did other jobs to help make ends meet at times.
In many ways Charles was a young boy of his generation. Their family lived on the St. Joe River in Mendon where he learned to fish. Charles worked at El-Ken camp store and campground that his parents owned in addition to holding down his studies at Mendon High School. While at Mendon High School, Charles was a drummer in the band and was on the football team. Charles could also play the organ. After graduating from high school in 1975, he went into the United States Army.
New and exciting changes were in store for Charles when he met the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Diana Briggs, and they met through her sister-in-law, Evey, who he lived down the road from. Charles’ mother was the one who was behind their introduction as she didn’t like the girl he was dating so she asked Evey to introduce him to Diana. Sparks flew right from the start, and they soon fell deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together Charles and Diana were married on December 27, 1975, when they were just 18 years old. Much of his time in the Army was spent in Korea, and he and his new wife lived there together for over a year and then moved to Kansas where he was stationed. Together Charles and Diana welcomed three children including Thad, Melissa, and Kiara into their hearts and home. Known for his strong work ethic, he worked at Simpson Paper until they closed. Charles then worked at Armstrong for a year before moving to American Axle in 2002 where he remained until he got sick.
Throughout his life Charles was a man of many interests. He raised beagles, and he was a frequent competitor in beagle competitions for the UKC. Charles had a fenced in 25 acre property where he trained dogs for others. As an outdoor and nature lover, his favorite pastime was being in the field. Charles loved taking land and forming it from a field and bringing it back into wildlife by planting trees. He enjoyed hunting and traveling to the Upper Peninsula and to Drummond Island. Charles especially loved running his beagles while hunting for a while up there on some land. An avid softball player, he also ran the Vicksburg adult softball leagues and loved watching his kids and grandkids play sports. Since he worked nights, he often needed to cook for himself and got quite good at it. Charles was also good at grilling. He liked country and oldies as well as watching westerns, the Hallmark Channel and Star Trek. His favorite color was green.
All who knew Charles Martens would agree that he had a heart that was as big as they come. He was the sort of person who would do whatever he could for someone else, and he was always there if needed no matter the personal sacrifice. A family man through and through, Charles loved being with his family no matter what. He was fun-loving, but he could be quiet at times, too. Life will never be the same without Charles here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Charles G. Martens, of Vicksburg, passed away on Thursday, December 28, 2017. Charles’ family includes his wife, Diana; three children: Thad (Michelle) Martens, of Schoolcraft; Melissa (Chuck Smith) Martens, of Vicksburg; Kiara Martens, of Vicksburg; 10 grandchildren: Jonah, Hunter, Karyna, Evan, Jayden, Charleigh, Hazel, Keegan, Wayne and Gage; three sisters: Janet Bresson, of Schoolcraft; Jean Stoughton, of Scotts; Lillian Fluty, of NC; brother and sister-in-laws: Virgil Briggs, of Vicksburg; Larry and Evey Briggs, of Mendon; Gary Briggs, of Vicksburg; Ron Briggs, of Vicksburg; Gene Briggs, of Scotts; Connie Habdas, of Grand Blanc; and many close friends including Donnie Yant and Bob Gose; numerous nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 4-7p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg (269-649-1697). A funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be at Vicksburg Cemetery. Please visit Charles’ webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook and share a memory. Those who wish may make contributions to the charity of choice.