Archive for Thursday, December 23, 2004

Henry A. Martens


December 23, 2004

Henry A. Martens


Services for Henry A. Martens, 72, Leavenworth, were Wednesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Leavenworth. Burial was in Johnson County Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Overland Park.

Mr. Martens, owner of Martens Chevrolet-Cadillac in Leavenworth, died Friday, Dec. 17, at his home.

He was born Sept. 18, 1932, in Shawnee, the son of Henry and Mary Martens. He attended Shawnee schools and then served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

He started his career as a Manor Bread route salesman. His bread route included the local Chevrolet dealer, who was so impressed with Mr. Martens' selling skills that he recruited him to sell cars. After just a few years of selling, Martens became a partner of Beck-Dennis Chevrolet in Olathe. Four years later he accepted a sales manager position with Guy Pine Chrysler-Plymouth in Mission. He left the job a few years later and was sought out by Chrysler Corp. to open his own auto dealership.

He moved to Leavenworth in 1963 when he and his wife, Shirley, purchased the Chrysler-Plymouth franchise. He owned the store for more than 30 years. His hard work and love of the automobile business allowed him to expand.

At one point he owned and operated five automobile dealerships with his five sons in Leavenworth, Platte City, Mo., Lee's Summit, Mo., and Warsaw, Mo.

He was a charter member of Olathe Lions Club and a member of Leavenworth Elks, American Legion and AUSA. He also was a lifetime member of the Belgian-American Club of Greater Kansas City and sponsored many of the military officers from Belgium who attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.

His many accomplishments included growing and harvesting grapes and producing wine for his friends and family. He also was a pilot for many years.

Proud of his Belgian heritage, he made two trips to Belgium to visit his mother's birthplace and to visit the many friends he made through the Fort Leavenworth sponsorship program.

He had a lifelong passion for being outdoors and for working the land with his farm equipment. He enjoyed cutting firewood and relaxing at home in front of a fire on a chilly day. A good day for him was mowing his acreage, planting trees and shrubs and making something more beautiful than it was before he started.

He married Shirley L. Pfeifer on Dec. 1, 1951, in Olathe. She survives of the home.

Other survivors include five sons, Tom and Jeff, both of Leavenworth, Dale, Lee's Summit, Mo., Tony, Platte City, Mo., and Hank, Joplin, Mo.; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Davis Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth, handled arrangements.

The family suggests memorials to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Leavenworth.


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