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Martha Jean Crow, 92

Martha Jean Crow, 92, of Marshalltown, returned to the arms of her Lord and Savior on Friday, April 2, 2021. She passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family under the care of Iowa River Hospice.

Funeral services for Martha will take place on Saturday, April 10 at 10:30 A.M. at the Marshalltown Church of the Nazarene. A visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 9:30 A.M. Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery. For those unable to attend, the service will be available to view on the Mitchell Family Funeral Home Facebook page. Memorials may be directed to the family for designation to the North River Church, where she was raised and married. For additional questions or to leave a condolence, please visit www.mitchellfh.com or call 641-844-1234. Mitchell Family Funeral Home has been entrusted with the care of Martha and her family.

Born Martha Jean Baxendale on March 9, 1929 in Indianola, Iowa, she was the daughter of Thomas and Gertrude (Geibrich) Baxendale. Growing up in a loving, Christian family on a farm near Indianola, Martha lived out the values instilled during those early years. After graduating from Indianola High School, she went on to attend Simpson College, then Drake University, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education. She also attended University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University to receive graduate credit.

Martha was united in marriage to the love of her life, Donald “Don” Crow, on August 7, 1949 at North River Church in Warren County near Indianola. Together they moved to Marshalltown in 1958, where they have since called home. Martha’s kind disposition created a safe and loving home for her own children, as well as numerous foster children over the years.

Her love of education and children was boundless. Over the span of her career, Martha taught many children in grades third through fifth, first in St. Charles, Iowa, then in Audubon, Iowa, then in Marshalltown at Norris Elementary School, followed by 25 years at Fisher Elementary, where she retired in 1989. She also served as a Sunday school teacher for over 70 years.

Martha had a heart for service and an unshakeable faith. She was an active member of the Church of the Nazarene, where she was honored with a Distinguished Service Award, recognizing her for over 50 years of dedication to the church. Her natural ability to make everyone feel welcome led to a role in hospitality at the church for many years. She loved entertaining, cooking and trying new recipes. Whether someone needed a meal or a helping hand, Martha was always willing. She would often invite people, who would otherwise be alone, to share in her family gatherings. She never said an unkind word and always had a smile on her face.

Martha loved nature and enjoyed most anything that got her outside. She loved gardening flowers and especially enjoyed hybridizing African violets. She loved picnics, the mountains, traveling in their family trailer and motorhome, hiking and boating. She was talented and artistic, enjoying painting and photography. Martha also had a soft place in her heart for animals. But more than anything else – she loved her family unconditionally and enjoyed spending time with them.

Left to cherish her memory are her children: Larry and Betty Kadner, Ron (Lorraine) Crow, Donna (Scott) Goodwin, and Lester (Wendie) Kadner; grandchildren: Jen (Brandon) Sills, Alicia (Jeremy) Sears, Ashley (Jason) Nusbaum, Kelsy (Mario) Orelus, Kendra (Ryan) Giffin, Ethan Crow (Maria Lovin), Jason (Mistry) Maxwell, Jamie (Jim) Schelling, John (Jenni) Kadner and Vanessa (Joe) Kumor; 25 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; her brother, Marvin (Carolyn) Baxendale; foster daughter Janet (Rev. Brent) DeSilva; numerous foster children and many other relatives.

Martha is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Don; her parents, Thomas and Gertrude; siblings: Elsie Pyle, Glen Baxendale and Howard Baxendale; and in-laws: Bruce and Edna Crow.