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Frederick H. Martens

December 15, 1920 - October 06, 2012


Frederick H. Martens, 90, an active community member of Plainfield, IL, since 1950, passed away October 5, 2012 after a stroke. Fred is survived by his wife of 65 years, Carolyn, son Phillip, daughter Christine (Edward Mocarski), and granddaughter Emily Mocarski, as well as devoted nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother John and his daughter, Susan Emily.

Born in Peoria, Illiniois, December 15, 1921, to Hilbert C. and Anna D. Martens. Fred was a navigator in the Army Air Corps during World War II, flying missions over Germany in the later months of the war. After V-E day, which he celebrated in Paris, he flew repatriation missions to return people displaced by the war to their homes. Whenever he spoke of this assignment, Fred described it as the most fulfilling work he ever did. Fred shared his World War II stories in an interview for the Library of Congress Veterans Project.

After the war he completed his degree in physics at University of Chicago, then obtained a masters degree from the University of New Mexico in astrophysics. In 1947 Fred married Carolyn Arnold, also of Peoria. During several years in Albuquerque they explored the American southwest and Mexico, visiting some very out-of-the-way places at a time when the area was quite primitive.

Fred and Carolyn moved to Plainfield in 1950 when he was recruited for a job at Argonne National Laboratory. He worked there for a career of more than 30 years. His initial assignment was on the team designing the nuclear power system for the first atomic submarine, the Nautilus. He served as director of the reactor operations division at Argonne, helping to design new kinds of nuclear reactors for peacetime applications. He retired in 1983.

Fred was a founding member of Faith Lutheran Church in Joliet, where he served in many leadership roles. More recently he loyally attended the Plainfield United Methodist Church closer to his home.

After retirement Fred was active in the Plainfield Historical Society, participating in the first two Cemetery Walks. An exhibition at the Society's museum featured some of his military memorabilia from the war, including his uniform, letters to home, and medals. Fred traced the family tree of his Martens ancestors in northern Germany back to the late 1500s, accumulating many photographs and family stories in the process. Fred and Carolyn enjoyed traveling and were able to take many trips throughout the world.

Visitation will be Tuesday, October 9, 3:00 until 8:00 PM at the Overman-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Plainfield. Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, October 10, 10:00 AM at Faith Lutheran Church, 353 Midland Ave, Joliet, IL 60435. Family will receive friends from 9:30 until 10:00 AM at the church. Interment will be private.

Donations Information

For those who would like to leave a lasting tribute to Fred's life, memorials may be directed to Faith Lutheran Church or Plainfield United Methodist Church, 15114 S. Illinois St, Plainfield, IL 60544.

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Frederick H. Martens


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