Martha Julia Palczewski Martin Stuber was born on Jan. 8, 1929 on the homestead farm of Joseph and Elizabeth Palczewski 13 miles south of Scranton, ND. She was the youngest of nine children. Their home had three rooms and an attic. Martha attended Hammond Grade School and was the only child in her grade. She and her brother, Stanley Palczewski walked four miles each way or rode double on horseback. Martha helped her mother with cleaning, washing, ironing, baking, cooking, garden weeding and milking cows. Life was a struggle on the farm growing up in the 1930s dust bowl era.
Martha graduated from Scranton High School in 1946. Martha acted in all the high school plays, was on the drill team, and played basketball (but not well, according to her.) Martha loved to sing, dance and go to movies. She stayed in a dormitory during the week with three other farm girls and worked part-time cleaning. Martha’s father drove his truck into town to bring her home to the farm on weekends.
Martha started nursing school in Miles City, MT at the age of 17. It was the first time that she traveled out of North Dakota. When Martha was 18 years old, she and her classmates were sent to Warm Springs, MT for further training. They were in charge of 200 psychiatric patients and were terrified. After graduating from nursing school, Martha and four of her nursing friends rode the milk train to Conrad, MT for their first job. They worked and played hard, and made lasting friendships. Nurses were paid $220 a month to work in a 60-bed hospital.
Later Martha moved to Carmel, CA to work and “find a man.” She met Erie A. Martin, Jr. (Junior,) career Military. They were married on Febr. 23, 1952 and had four children – Dianne, Dorothy, Dennis and Donna. Martha spent 13 years as an Army wife. She worked full-time as a nurse. They moved a lot, once five times in one year. Martha and her husband were stationed in California, Washington, Alaska and Kansas. Junior was usually assigned duty overseas six months a year or on maneuvers, leaving Martha and their children at home.
Martha and her children moved to the family farm (Joe, Elizabeth, Stanley and Marlene Palczewski) just before Junior was deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. Junior was killed in action on July 20, 1965. Martha’s brothers and their wives were Martha’s rock, helping her transition into being a civilian single parent with four children ages 6 to 11. Martha bought a house near the school in Scranton for her family. She worked full-time as a nurse at the Bowman Clinic and Nursing Home.
Martha married Bob Stuber on Nov. 3, 1971. She gained two stepchildren, Dudley and Jackie. Bob and Martha built a home east of Bowman where they enjoyed their children, entertaining and gardening. Bob and Martha went out to the Flagstone Terrace every Friday night for supper and dancing. They found pleasure exploring backcountry roads, golfing and in playing any kind of card game. Bob died on Jan. 16, 1981.
Martha was an active member of the Catholic Daughters, Legion auxiliary, SW Healthcare Auxiliary, Happy Modernaries Homemaker Club and Dakota Prairie Helping Hands. Martha worked over 40 years as a Registered Nurse. She volunteered at Hospice and Able, Inc. Martha was known as the “Card Lady” as she delivered cards from the Catholic Daughters to all of those who were ill in the community. She was also known as the “Flower Lady” as she delivered many bouquets to patients in the hospital and nursing home.
Martha became a Benedictine Oblate associated with the Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton in 1999. In doing this, Martha made a commitment to contemplation, study and daily prayer. She attended monthly meetings, at least one retreat a year and committed herself to four sessions of study throughout the year. Martha felt that it was a privilege to go to daily Mass, say the rosary and pray with her prayer group. When asked what she considered her motto or rule to live by, Martha said, “To be kind, be happy and have a sense of humor. Trust in god – He is in control. I have this little visit with him every day.”
Martha’s macular degeneration progressed to total blindness in June 2019. During the July 4th weekend, over 200 of Martha’s family, relatives and friends celebrated her 90th birthday. Activities included Mass and a reception at St Charles Catholic Church. Father Paul commented that it was one of the largest crowds the church had ever seen. A reception and supper were held later at the Bowman Sweetwater Golf Course Club House. The entertainment for both events was a slide show of over 200 images of Martha’s life and the Palczewski family history. Both gatherings were an opportunity for Martha’s North Dakota relatives and friends to say good-bye.
Shortly after that Martha was moved to Loving Care Assisted Living in the Denver area to be close to her daughter Dorothy and family. She received excellent care there and was able to have numerous visits with family prior to COVID-19. Martha continued to listen to daily Mass. Her faith kept her strong. Martha passed with her daughter Dorothy and son Dennis by her side two days prior to her 92nd Birthday.
Martha’s funeral will be scheduled this summer post COVID-19 at St. Charles Catholic Church. Martha’s family requests that memorials be sent to St. Charles Catholic Church in Bowman, ND and Sacred Heart Monastery in Dickinson, ND.
Martha was proceeded in death by her bothers and sisters: Frank, Mary, Carl, Izzy, Richard and two siblings who died as infants.
Martha will be missed by her brother Stanley Palczewski and by her four children, two stepchildren and their families.
1) Stepson Dudley Stuber (Michelle) and step-grandchildren Dustin Stuber (Cindy), Suzi Young (Jason), Mikki Pryor (Brandon) and Bobbi Williams (Nate). Step-great-grandchildren Owen, Holly, Joclyn, and Westin Stuber. Jonas, Isaac, Lanie and Hanna Young. Payton, Mika and Hailee Pryor. Jada, Traesean, DeAndre and Skyla Williams.
2) Dianne Martin Morley (Alex).
3) Stepdaughter Jackie Kitzan (Val) and step-grandchildren Shane Kitzan (Jen) and Rachel Kitzan (Jason Teggatz). Step great-grandchildren Ryan Kitzan, Sophia Kitzan and Carson Smith.
4) Dorothy Gilmore (Tim) and grandchildren Mirriah Elliott (Andy), Kit Cusker and Devin Sheetz (Bryce). Step-grandson Jeremy Gilmore (Summer Lee). Great-grandchildren Kailee Elliott, Jace Elliott and Aubrey Sheetz.
5) Dennis Martin (Barb) and grandson Dylan Martin.
6) Donna Martin (Colby Windmill) and granddaughter Gabrielle Milligan.
Martha will also be missed by numerous relatives and friends.