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Neil R. Martenson, 68

Neil Roger Martenson, age 68, of Rockford, died Monday, July 19, 2010, at St. Cloud Hospital after a brave battle with cancer.

He was born and raised in Sisseton, SD, the son of Arthur and Ragna (Hanson) Martenson.

Neil served in the US Army Artillery March 12, 1964-March 13, 1966. He was so talented in math and organizational skills that when he applied to be transferred from company clerk to a gunner in the unit, his commanding officer refused because he could not bear to lose such a talented individual. He held the company clerk position throughout his military service and was the most popular guy on base since he was in charge of the weekend passes.

After an honorable discharge from the military, Neil moved to the Twin Cities. There, he was introduced to a young woman named Arleen Margaret Koep. The two quickly fell in love, and were married Sept. 14, 1968.

The couple relocated from Minneapolis to Rockford in 1974, where they would raise their two children.

Based out of their Rockford home, Neil was the owner and operator of Martenson Construction for the last 25 years. He not only took pride in his work, but truly cherished the many friends he made during his time in business. Over the years, Neil had gained a reputation for being the best in his industry and a trusted contractor. He had also donated much time and professional expertise for friends, family and the city of Rockford, where he was a 35-year resident.

An avid fisherman and hunter, Neil relished yearly pheasant hunts and frequent family fishing trips. He enjoyed mentoring his nephews on the finer points of both pursuits. When relaxing, he would enjoy a good book or watch the Gophers, Twins, or Vikings on TV. He also had a passion for his collections including: custom knives, bald eagle art, vintage water pumps, and scale-model farm equipment memorabilia.

Neil was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Ragna Martenson; sisters Jeanette Skjonsberg, and Randene Brandreit; a brother, Galen Martenson; brother-in-law Harold Stagman; and in-laws Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Koep, and Wendelin Koep.

He leaves his devoted wife of 41 years, Arleen (Koep) Martenson; daughter Christine Martenson-Wiorek and husband Richard Wiorek; daughter Jenny (Martenson) Lane and fiancée Jason Perona; siblings Marlys Stagman, Darlene (Leonard) Freeberg, Bob (Cheryll) Martenson, Jimmy Martenson, and Dennis (Barb) Martenson; numerous in-laws; many nieces and nephews; and countless friends.

Mass of Christian Burial took place Friday, July 23 at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Loretto with the Rev. John Gallas officiating. Interment was in the Elmwood Cemetery in Rockford, with military honors provided by the Delano American Legion Post 377.

Arrangements were with the Iten Funeral Home in Delano.