Martha Westlund
Martha Westlund
Martha Westlund
Martha Westlund
Martha Westlund
Martha Westlund

Obituary of Martha Adeline Westlund

Martha Adeline Westlund, 105, died at her beloved home on Grand Lake in Saginaw. She was born October 5, 1915 in Duluth to August and Agusta Wickstrom. Martha grew up in Saginaw and graduated from Proctor High School in 1933. She married the love of her life, Joy Westlund in 1937. They spent their lives at Grand Lake where Joy preceded her in death in 2002. Martha was a charter member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Twig. For many years Martha recalled and told stories of her Century-long life in Saginaw to friends and family in great detail. She lived in a farm house with her sister Eleanor, and ship Captain father and mother. Her parents were Swedish immigrants, who mostly lived off the farm. Martha gave details of the Great Cloquet fire that swept Northern Minnesota in 1918 when she was 3 years old. She told of being put in the horse carriage along with trunks of belongings for a hasty getaway and the great fortune when the devastating fire missed their farm. She also spoke of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the end of WWI. With the 1920's Martha shared her knowledge of the women's suffrage and the personal effect of the stock market crash in 1929, the great depression, and ravages of the dust bowl in the 1930's. She became a proverbial history book of northern Minnesota and often told stories of her marriage to Joy in 1937 and how they survived the beginnings of WW11, and Joy's calling and effort in the construction of the Alaskan Highway. While he was gone she stayed in Saginaw to hold down the fort. The 1940's and 1950's marked their time together with the purchase of a large tract of land on the shores of Grand Lake and the births of their first three children. During those years they worked together creating the "cabin road" by building and renting cabins for lease in the summer months. They shared the responsibilities while simultaneously caring for Martha's parents. In the 1960's she witnessed Kennedy's assassination, the first Moon landing, and her son's service in the Vietnam war. In the 1980's Joy finally retired from operating earth moving shovel equipment. After his retirement Joy wisked Martha away to Arizona in the hopes of helping her progressive arthritis. They also took a trip to Sweden to seek out their roots and meet with their relative. Grand Lake was a source of happiness where friends and family would always gather. Without fail, they sat on the dock and watched the sunset together. During her last years she was able to remain in her home, with her youngest son Tim checking on her daily. Martha's life spanned the first pandemic in 1918 to the COVID pandemic in 2021. She was the oldest person in Minnesota to receive the vaccine. She went from horse and buggy to watching the Mars landing in Feb. of 2021. It is nearly impossible to capture the extraordinary life of Martha Westlund. When asked what was important to her, she replied "I thank God every Day". In her last days she joined in singing "Beautiful Savior", "You are my Sunshine", and "Jesus Loves Me." Martha is survived by her daughter, Diane Tiseth of Naples, FL; sons, Gary (Cindy Shelton) Westlund of Saginaw, Terry (Sandy) Westlund of St. Louis, MO, and Tim (Lori) Westlund of Saginaw; grandsons, Shawn (Ethenie) Westlund of Colorado, Darren (Jackie) Westlund of New York, David Tiseth of Texas, Patrick (Anna) Holappa of Minneapolis, Shawn Mehling of Nevada, and Josh Mehling of Saginaw; and five great grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. To sign the guest book and offer an online tribute, see www.atkinsnorthlandfuneralhome.com
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