Home Gertrude Martens

Gertrude Martens

0 comment

Her father’s 14th child and mother’s first, Gertrude was born at 4 pounds and fought to live. Her family settled in Yarrow, B.C., in 1928. Her social life surrounded Yarrow MB Church, where she joined the choir at 17. Most photos show her holding infants. She lived out her love for children and the Bible by teaching vacation Bible school and Sunday school. Gertrude left school to care for her parents. She lost them both to cancer in 1946–47. Her large family cared for her; faith and tenacity sustained her. Gertrude supported herself as a housekeeper in Vancouver while completing Grades 11–12 in one year. Love conquered over the minor detail that her husband shared a first name with her father and brother. Her relationship with John spanned nearly 70 years. After 3 children, doctors declared her too ill to have more; 5 years later, she was cleared to become pregnant, welcoming another 2. She loved her children-in-law with a passion. Gertrude expressed her affection through cooking and baking, skills she put to work at the Airport Inn, Richmond, B.C., Columbia Bible Camp, and the Cedars. One of the first B.C. residents to be trained in early childhood education in the 1970s, Gertrude ran a daycare in Richmond (B.C.) Bethel MB Church. At Yarrow’s 60th anniversary in 1988, as one of 6 surviving pioneers, Gertrude was given a key to the city. In retirement, she enjoyed visiting her children across North America and cooking for them. Her love seemed to grow as her physical capacities weakened.


  • Birth: January 27, 1926
  • Birthplace:
    Langham, Sask.
  • Death: August 27, 2018
  • Parents:
    Johann & Maria (Reimer) Esau
  • Married:
    John Martens, Apr. 16, 1950
  • Family:
    John; children Marian, Jim, Tilly, John, Trudy; 17 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren
  • Church:
    Clearbrook MB, Abbotsford, B.C.
  • Baptism:
    Yarrow (B.C.) MB, as a teen