Martha Jane Fienen, age 64, passed away at REM Heartland in Mankato, MN on the afternoon of Thursday, January 2, 2020. This wonderful angel is now at peace with her Lord.
Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, January 10, 2020, at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church in St. Peter, with Rev. Justin Heise officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Independence, KS, on January 13, at 11:00 am, with Rev. Kevin Peterson officiating. Memorials may be given to St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church or to the charity of your choice. Arrangements are being handled by St. Peter Funeral Home and Webb & Rodrick Chapel.
Martha was born in Evansville, IN on October 14, 1955, the fourth child of Norman Claus Fienen and Carolyn Marie (Becker) Fienen. Since she was born with Down Syndrome, she first attended the Development Center in Evansville until the family moved to Louisville, KY when she was about ten. Then she attended special education classes in the Jefferson County School System until she was 21. After completion of her studies, she worked in a sheltered workshop in Louisville until she retired in 2002. She was lovingly cared for by her family and was a pleasant, cheerful, loving daughter and sister with a strong will.
Martha grew up in a family who loved and treated her as a cherished member. Her mother, a trained teacher, was particularly devoted to developing Martha’s full potential. A clear memory is the family gathered after dinner for daily devotions. The Bible passage chosen for the day was read by all, each one reading the successive verse, including Martha (with only a little occasional help). Another example of her amazing development was her collection of all of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, which she read and reread until the covers started to fall off. Her love of music was infectious, whether listening to recordings (and conducting along) or singing the hymns and liturgy in church with great conviction (though not matching the pitches very well). She also took pride in her responsibilities in the house and was quite helpful with dusting, washing dishes, or ironing. In 2008, she moved to St. Peter with her Father and brother. By this time, there were early signs of the inevitable dementia that would descend upon her in her last years. Gradually she lost the skills she had attained earlier and began a physical decline that included occasional seizures. After a brief stay at Benedictine in St. Peter, she moved to Birch House, REM Heartland in Mankato 3½ years ago. Supported by the loving care of the REM staff and frequent visits by her family, she continued to exhibit a happy demeanor. Martha died surrounded by people who loved her and sustained by her faith in Jesus. We will miss her greatly.
She is survived by her three brothers: David (Judy) and John of St. Peter, and the Rev. Daniel (Janice) of Baldwin, MI; nephews: Michael (Chandra) of Madison, WI, Joel (Tammy) of North Mankato, MN, and Timothy of Big Rapids, MI; two uncles: Richard and Elmer, both of Independence, KS, two aunts: Norma Jean Fienen of Amarillo, TX, and Delores Becker of Weston, WI; and many cousins.
Martha was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, four uncles, and four aunts.