Elmer Arnold Martens, 96, last surviving child of Alaska pioneers Loui and Ragnhild Martens, passed away peacefully of natural causes with his family at his side on April 14, 2013.
Elmer was born in Petersburg, Alaska on May 23, 1916, the fourth child of the pioneer family. Elmer played on the Petersburg basketball team and had an abiding love of the game. He was a proud graduate of Petersburg High School and wore his “Petersburg Alumni” cap to the end.
He fished on the Star with his father and brothers. He also fished on several other Petersburg and Seattle fishing vessels. He went south and became a skipper of tow boats on the Columbia River. During World War II one of the ocean going towboats on which he was working was pressed into service by the military and he was part of the effort to deliver equipment to the Aleutians for the government. It was in The Dalles, Ore. that he met and married his wife, Jacqueline, in 1943. Elmer purchased the fishing vessel Lorelei II in 1947 with a partner and soon bought that partner out. He then fished halibut and tuna on the Lorelei until he retired.
Elmer was a life member of the Petersburg Elks, the Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite and the Nile Temple. He was a Past Commodore and Life Member of the Kingston Cove Yacht Club. He was a Past President of the Fishing Vessel Owner's Association and member of the International Order of the Blue Gavel.
Elmer was preceded in death by his siblings Magnus Martens, Thelma Martens Torwick Dorum and Leonard Martens.
Elmer is survived by his wife, Jackie; daughter Susan (Bill) Moses of Camano Island, Wash., daughter Laurie (Rich) Rasanen of Minot, N.D.; grandchildren Mark (Andrea) Moses, Sally Moses, Ryan Rasanen, and Julie Rasanen; and four great granddaughters.
A celebration of his life will be held in the summer.