Virgil Martin

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Virgil Clyde Martin, 94, of Anamosa, Iowa, died Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at Jones Regional Medical Center following a sudden illness. A Celebration of Life service with full military honors by the United States Army and the Anamosa Veterans was held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 2, 2016, at the United Methodist Church in Anamosa with Pastor Marty Schuhmacher officiating. Visitation was Sunday, May 1, at the Goettsch Funeral Home in Anamosa where family will received friends from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Burial was at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, 2016, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Grundy Center, Iowa. 

Virgil is survived by daughter, Vickie (Kurt) Freeman of Marion; daughter, Linda (Merle) Miller of Tiffin; four grandchildren: Angela (Paul) Hockaday, Jasen (Tanya) Freeman, Jannea Miller, and Trent Miller; and three great-grandchildren: Celia and Gus Hockaday, and Joel Freeman. Virgil is also survived by two sisters: Elaine Syverson of Elkader and Lois Zerkle of Fort Atkinson, WI; many nieces and nephews; and his special granddog and companion, Buzz. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lavina (2012); his son, Rickie (1973); and two brothers: Carlton Russell Martin and Donald Martin. 

Virgil Clyde Martin was born September 5, 1921, on a farm on Chicken Ridge Road in Cox Creek Township, Clayton County, Iowa. He was the son of Archie and Elsie (Roeder) Martin. Virgil graduated from Elkader High School in 1939. He often spoke of his days pedaling milk in the early hours of the day before heading to school. After graduation he went to work for Hughes Bakery in Elkader. 

Virgil served his country by enlisting in the United States Army in 1942, during World War II. He was the company baker in the 155th Infantry Regiment where he baked breads, cakes, and pastries in field ovens and set up portable gasoline kitchens working in combat areas in New Guinea and the Southern Philippines. He was honorably discharged in December 1945 after serving overseas for 22 months. 

Virgil worked for the Iowa Highway Commission for a brief time before the U.S. Army called him back to service during the Korean Conflict. Again, he proudly served his country from September 1950 until May 1952. Upon returning from duty, Virgil went to work at The Quality Bakery in Grundy Center, where he met his future wife, Lavina. Virgil was united in marriage to Lavina Jean Beenken at the Methodist Church in Grundy Center, Iowa, on May 2, 1953.

Virgil and Lavina owned and operated V and L Pastries in Parkersburg and Lake City, IA for several years. The family moved to Anamosa in 1960 when Virgil took the job of food service supervisor at the Iowa State Men’s Reformatory. He was sincerely devoted to his job for 26 years until his retirement in 1986.

After his retirement Virgil remained very active in the Anamosa Veterans groups. He was a Lifetime Member of the William E. Rees AMVETS Post 110, the Gale Edwards VFW Post 4077, and the Arthur McCullough American Legion Post 13 for 70 years. Virgil served as the Commander of the AMVETS for several years and later served as the Commander of the Arthur McCullough American Legion Post 13 for 16 years. He found many ways to use his cooking skills after retirement, often cooking meals for meetings, fundraisers, and family gatherings. 

Virgil did anything he could to support his fellow veterans including taking it upon himself to start the Avenue of Flags at the Wayne Zion Lutheran Cemetery. In addition to his involvement in veteran activities, Virgil often spoke of his enjoyment with his kids and grandkids and was a devoted president of the Anamosa Band Boosters. Most recently, Virgil told stories of his trip to Washington, D.C. on the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, April 28, 2011. Virgil was an avid reader, subscribing to many magazines and faithfully reading the newspaper daily from cover to cover. He loved to be around and visit with people, often talking for hours, and looked forward to being able to travel around Anamosa on his scooter and saving treats for his buddy, Buzz. He was a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend and will be missed dearly by those closest to him.

Thoughts, memories, and condolences may be left for Virgil’s family at www.goettschonline.com.

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