Martha Blasi, 92, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Goldenrod Manor in Clarinda. Visitation will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 11, at Ritchie Funeral Home in Clarinda. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 12, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Clarinda with a luncheon following burial at the Clarinda Cemetery.
On Oct. 3, 1926, Martha Jessen was born in Wellman, Iowa, to Peter John Jessen and Bertha Kathryn Elizabeth Blum Jessen. She was baptized on Oct. 24, 1926, at St. John's Lutheran Church in Wellman. Martha grew up on a farm with eight brothers and sisters. She thought of herself as "mother's helper." Martha was confirmed on May 12, 1940, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ottumwa. Her confirmation verse was Psalm 27:1. She graduated from Pulaski High School in 1944 and attended Parsons College in Fairfield for two summer sessions. She taught at a rural school, Pleasant Knoll, in Pulaski for two years. Later, she worked at the Ottumwa Telephone Co. as an operator.
On Oct. 1, 1946, Martha married Jerald Blasi, also from Pulaski. They resided in Petersburg, Va., where Martha worked at the local phone company while Jerald served as an army medic. Upon his discharge from the service, they moved back to Iowa.
Jerald and Martha moved to Clarinda in 1962, where they raised four daughters. Martha was an active member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Clarinda. She held offices in the LWML. She enjoyed sewing for world relief, teaching Sunday school and vacation Bible school and singing in the choir. She made it a priority to attend various Bible study groups. Volunteer work also took up a lot of her time. She delivered meals, worked on the hospital auxiliary and helped at the Glenn Miller Museum.
Her faith and community were very important to her, but the welfare of her family was always on her mind. Martha was most at home in her kitchen, where she loved to cook. She lost her husband Jerald in 2009 after 62 years of marriage, but she continued to enjoy her family and friends.
She resided at Goldenrod Manor for the past 10 years, where she participated in all of the activities that were offered. She particularly enjoyed bingo and Kathy's Klass (current events). She always welcomed visitors and particularly enjoyed family visits.
Martha is survived by her daughters, Cheryl (Donald) Vincent of Omaha, Neb., Donna (Richard) Whitehead of Center Point, Janice (Royce) Duncan of Maryville, Mo., and Kelly (Phil) Lasher of Erie, Pa.; as well as nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. In addition, four sisters survive, Elsie Wagler of Cody, Wyo., Gwen (Earl) Foster of Huntsville, Texas, Evelyn (Robert) Wells of Ville De Oro, Texas, and Shirley (Robert) Schmidt of Mundelein, Ill. Martha also is survived by sisters-in-law, Dorothy Jessen, Beverly Blasi and Jeanie Blasi;
brothers-in-law, Dwight Blasi and Wayne Norton; also nieces, nephews, cousins and her Goldenrod family.
Preceding Martha in death were three bothers, Ronnie, Richard and Harold Jessen; and one sister, Sharon Norton.
Martha will be remembered for her selfless devotion to her family, her church and her community. Her love and inspiration will live on through her family. May God grant comfort and peace to all those who mourn her passing.