R. Werner Martin, 88

Town of Rib Lake resident, R. Werner Martin, 88, passed away Oct. 1 in Medford.

Werner was born in a small farming town in southeastern Wisconsin called Saint Anthony. He grew up during the depression and, when of age, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944. His original enlistment was for future Air Combat Crew training “Radio Communications” aboard B17 and B29 bomber aircraft at Truax Field in Madison. At that specific time, the war effort was winding down and military brass were shuffling personnel where they were needed most so Werner was transferred first to being a Supply Sergeant in North Carolina, and then toward the end of his service to the Military Police until his discharge.

When Werner arrived back home, he became an accountant for a local automobile/ farm dealership and later at a well-known lumber yard. After the war, homebuilding was booming and he thought it was an appropriate income source but continued his schooling for future advancement. Werner graduated from the Milwaukee Business Institute and also met and married his wife Ruth Schaefer, who resided in Slinger. The U.S. economy really started to expand at that time so Werner decided to start an innovative plastics molding company in West Bend, manufacturing point-of-sale displays. Some of his clients over the years included Rayovac Batteries, Mercury Marine and Weathershield. Later he received a government military contract to co-manufacture the famed M14 rifle stock out of composite materials.

Once semi-retired, Werner built and co-managed with his wife of 67 years, Ruth, a nostalgic early American gift shop they renovated from a 100-year-old farm. Upon full retirement, Werner and Ruth moved to Spirit Lake in 1998.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth; sons, Jeff (Gina), Tom (Chong) and Steve; daughter, Bonnie; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister, LaVerne. A private service was held in Rib Lake at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, with full military honors performed by the American Legion Post 274 at Saint Ann’s Cemetery. Hemer Funeral Service of Medford assisted the family with arrangements.