Sarah Mae (Van Dee) Martens, 83, of Shellsburg, Iowa, passed away Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, at Henry County Health Center, Mt. Pleasant. She was born Dec. 1, 1939, in Iowa City to Augustine Joseph and Margaret Mary Holderness Van Dee. After graduating from Williamsburg High School, she moved to Cedar Rapids where she spent most of her life. She moved to Shellsburg, Iowa, in 2009 where she spent the last years of her life.

On Nov. 7, 1959, she married Vernon Charles Martens at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids; he preceded her in death.

Sarah held several jobs in her life time including Rockwell Collins, Wilsons Packing House, Automatic Vending, and for the last 10 years of her career, providing child care in her home. She was a homemaker, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to many.

Survivors include four children, Sandy (John) Oberly of New London, Sheila (Mike) Gallagher of Burlington, Charlie (Lucy) Martens of Shellsburg, and Shirley Fraise of Palo, Iowa; her sister Florence (Robert) Moellers and brother Carl (Sandy) Van Dee; 13 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter Sarah Jane Hall; grandson, Christopher Lee Benesh; and siblings, Mary Brown, John Van Dee, Ida Mahan, Grace Hotchkiss, Betty McGee, Andrew Van Dee, Edward Van Dee, Donald Van Dee, Michael Van Dee and Helen Mendenhall.

According to her wishes, her body has been cremated and there will be a private family graveside service at a later date. Elliott Chapel, New London, is assisting the family and online condolences may be left at

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