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Martha Petranek Schwanz

Martha Ann Schwanz, age 95, of Sac City, Iowa, passed away on March 1, 2014, at Twilight Acres Nursing Home in Wall Lake, Iowa.  

Martha was born January 11, 1919,  to Josef  H. Petranek and Anna Homolka Petranek in White River, S.D.  She was baptized in Wagner and was a member of the Lutheran Church for 65 years. The family only spoke Bohemian prior to the children beginning school. Martha and her brother Edwin went to school together graduating in 1938.  Martha either walked a mile and a half or rode horseback to school.  She excelled in school and loved to draw horses.  She broke horses to ride, mended fences, killed rattlesnakes, and had a pet coyote. When Martha was only 13 years old she and a cousin drove thirty five cattle thirty eight miles to market. After graduation Martha worked in a Dime Store, the Court House, a Grocery Store, for NYA (National Youth Administration), and as a substitute teacher. 

On March 17, 1945, Martha married Leonard H. Schwanz at the Lutheran parsonage in Winner after meeting in 1942 and seeing each other only three times prior to their marriage.  The community chattered about Leonard marrying a woman from South Dakota who rode horses!  Martha had 38 cows and a horse shipped to Iowa after their marriage.  The couple settled on a farm near Odebolt, later moving to a farm north of Lake View, Iowa, where they farmed, had beef cattle, hogs, and holstein dairy cows.  In 1989, they moved to Sac City.

Martha worked for Dr. Joe Blass in his Lake View Veterinarian Office for years.  She also designed the cover of the Sac County Fair Book for many years.  Martha loved to sew and made a quilt for each of her children and grandchildren.  Growing beautiful flowers was an easy task and she won many awards and ribbons.  She enjoyed reading western books, going to auctions, rummage sales, and antique shops in search of Fiesta dishes.  

Martha was an awesome mother and is survived by three children: son Alvin Schwanz, Black Canyon City, Ariz.; daughters: Jeri (Jack) Bottenfield, Torrington, Wyo.,  and Mary Jo (Scott) Foster, Otley, Iowa.  

As Martha aged, granddaughter Molli, who lived close by was especially attentive to Martha’s needs and always graciously gave of her time to help Martha. Other survivors include her grandchildren: Molli (Lance) Mandernach, Sac City, Iowa, Keri (Shane) Hime, Torrington, Wyo., Kellee (Josh) Smith, Carroll, Iowa, Brett (Jessica) Meyer of Lytton, Iowa, and Jace Foster, Pella, Iowa; great-grandchildren: Ally and Brock Mandernach, Brayden and Dylan Hime, Amelia and Gavin Holt, Grant, Reed, Katie, Stone, and Claire Smith, Kellen and Danika Meyer; brother Edwin Petranek of Belle Fourche, sisters: Emma Jarl, Kadoka, and Lillian Chamberlain, Wilmington, Deleware.

She was predeceased by her husband Leonard in 1996; parents; brothers: Benjamin and Joseph; sister Clara; and two nieces.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Inurnment will be at the Ferguson Cemetery, Lake View, Iowa.  Farber and Otteman Funeral Home in Sac City is in charge of the arrangements. 

Martha raised Siamese cats and loved all animals so memorials will be used to help local animal shelters.

 Box F, White River, SD 57579 • 605-259-3642 • mcnews@gwtc.net

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