Martha Bonnesen, the daughter of Jorgen and Marie Margarette (Ericksen) Knudsen, was born on November 18, 1920, in Redline, Iowa. When Martha was two years old, her family moved to Dedham, Iowa; they lived there for several years. They then moved back to Shelby County, Iowa, and lived in the Prairie Rose and Jacksonville areas. On August 5, 1928, Martha was baptized at home. She attended Jackson #8 school through the eighth grade, and then worked as a hired girl doing housework for several area families.
On August 16, 1940, in Fremont, Nebraska, Martha married Folmer Johannes Bonnesen. On March 21, 1948, she was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton, Iowa. Martha was a hard worker who took pride in doing a good job. She worked at Elk Horn Brand Eggs from 1955-1971. From January 1, 1978, to September 10, 1995, Martha was employed at the Salem Lutheran Home as a dietary assistant.
Martha was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton, Iowa, and participated in the Immanuel Lutheran Church Women group. She was also a member of the Amvets Auxiliary Post #57. She enjoyed time at home, tending to her yard, flowers, and garden. Martha especially treasured time with her family; hours spent with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were precious to her.
Martha Bonnesen died on Sunday, October 30, 2005, at the Salem Lutheran Home in Elk Horn, Iowa, at the age of 84 years, 11 months, and 12 days.
Martha was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Folmer Johannes Bonnesen; one sister, Kathryn Littlejohn; five brothers, Chris Knudsen, George Knudsen, Henry Knudsen, Walter Knudsen, and Harold Knudsen; and one daughter-in-law, Deanna Bonnesen. Her survivors include one son, Richard Bonnesen of Aurelia, Iowa; one daughter, Janet (Galan) Johannsen of Harlan, Iowa; one brother, Peter (Thelma) Knudsen of Sanford, Florida; five grandchildren, Suzanne (Mark) Sangwin and Bruce Bonnesen, both of Aurelia, Iowa, Eric (Amy) Johannsen of Boone, Iowa, Sarah (Dale) Fink of Harlan, Iowa, and Reid (Amy) Johannsen of Pleasant Valley, Missouri; 12 great-grandchildren, Mason Sangwin, Trevor Sangwin, Alex Sangwin, Josh Bonnesen, Siera Bonnesen, Douglas Bonnesen, Kurtis Bonnesen, and Tiffany Bonnesen, all of Aurelia, Iowa, Thomas Fink and Braden Fink, both of Harlan, Iowa, Shaylie Johannsen of Boone, Iowa, and Grace Johannsen of Pleasant Valley, Missouri; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, November 2, 2005, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Kimballton, Iowa, with Pastor Heather Ploen of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Harlan, Iowa, officiating. Sherry Hansen served as organist and Lynette Wall was the soloist. Casket bearers were Suzanne Sangwin, Bruce Bonnesen, Eric Johannsen, Sarah Fink, Reid Johannsen, and Garey Knudsen. Burial was in the Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Kimballton, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements.