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Mary Ann Martin

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Mary Ann (Wisecup) Martin died on May 25, 2022. She was born in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on July 5, 1930, to Charles Arthur “Artie” Wisecup and Agnes Viola (Tollefson) Wisecup. The Wisecup Farm Museum is on the location of the family farm where she grew up.

After high school she taught in a one-room schoolhouse for a year before going to college. She graduated from Simpson College in 1953, and then taught first grade in Newton, Iowa, for a year. In 1955 she married Ray I. Martin, whom she met at Simpson. After marrying, they moved to Massachusetts, where Ray went to seminary, and where their four children were born. They returned to Iowa in 1967, and lived in the Des Moines area for the rest of their lives. After returning to Iowa they served as foster parents to several children.

Mary Ann was devoted to social and environmental causes, learning and teaching about conservation and recycling before most people had ever heard of those things. She was active in Church Women United and other church groups, and active on many church committees, and was a leader of her church’s Green Team. In the 1970s she began working part-time as a substitute teacher in the Des Moines Public School District, eventually working in nearly every school in the district, often for special needs classes. She enjoyed camping, and many Martin family vacations were joint adventures with her sister Jackey Arrick and her family. A particularly memorable family vacation was a week-long trip through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with lifelong college friends Everett and Ruth Laning and their family. She and Ray were active members of the Wagon Wheels square dance club for 25 years, and in later years participated in senior bowling leagues. She enjoyed playing various board games, and family get-togethers almost always included playing a few games. She also loved all flavors and types of ice cream, especially homemade ice cream. Early family holiday celebrations often included Ray setting up a hand-cranked ice cream maker and the kids taking turns turning the crank to churn the homemade ice cream. She made sure there was ice cream at all of her children’s weddings, and no week would be complete without having some sort of ice cream at least once. Mary Ann survived COVID-19 twice; in October 2020 (pre-vaccine), and January 2022 (after being fully vaccinated).

She was preceded in death by her infant brother William (1939), her father (1990), her mother (1994), her husband (2014), her sister Linda Harney (2015), and her son Craig (2019). She is survived by sisters Barbara “Bobbie” Wisecup and Jacquenette “Jackey” Arrick, brother Charles (Julie) Wisecup; daughter Cynthia (Robert) Kresse, sons Ivan (Tammy) Martin and Clint (Melissa) Martin; grandchildren Andrew Kresse, Megan (Conor) Richardson, Lucas Martin and Lilyana Martin, great-grandson Cameron Richardson, many nieces and nephews, and countless friends.

Visitation and memorial services are on Saturday, June 18, at First United Methodist Church, 1001 Pleasant, Des Moines, Iowa. Visitation begins at 9:00 AM. The memorial service is at 11:00 AM, with a light lunch following the service. The service will be live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page ( The family requests that all attendees wear a mask during the visitation and memorial service. Memorial contributions may be made to Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, to the Ray & Mary Ann Martin Endowed Scholarship.



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