Regina Alvina “Ginger” Martin, age 87, passed away peacefully on November 18, 2021, in her home surrounded by family. The family will receive visitors at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Pender, Nebraska, on Sunday, November 21, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. with a Rosary immediately following. The funeral will be held at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, November 22, 2021. Burial will be in the Rosehill Cemetery of Pender. Munderloh – Smith Funeral Home of Pender is in charge of the arrangements. Those who wish to remember Ginger in a special way may make gifts in her memory to Catholic Charities, the organization through which Ben and Ginger were able to adopt four of their children; or through Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital – an organization that Ginger was very fond of.
Ginger was born September 21, 1934, in Tilden, Nebraska; the daughter of Mary (Kadavy) and Martin VanErt. She was the ninth of ten children.
Ginger graduated from Oakdale High School in 1952. Following graduation she went to a summer school program in Wayne, Nebraska so she could teach country school thereafter. After only one year, she moved to Norfolk, Nebraska for a new job. In Norfolk, she liked to go to dances a few nights a week at King’s Ballroom, which is where she met the love of her life, Benjamin O. Martin.
Ben and Ginger dated only three weeks before he had to go into the service. They wrote letters weekly and dated regularly when he would come home on furlough. For entertainment they would go to dances; Ben says, “We ballroom danced throughout all of Northeast Nebraska!”. They married on January 28, 1956, in the middle of an ice storm. Soon after they began to grow their family. After their seventh child was stillborn, they were blessed with the adoption of four additional children.
From a young age, Ben knew he wanted to become a doctor and Ginger was a steadfast supporter of his dreams. In 1960, Ben graduated medical school; he practiced in Crawford, Nebraska before ultimately settling in Pender, Nebraska where they built their home and raised their children.
Once her kids were grown, Ginger went back to college and became an RN. She was a faith-filled woman who attended daily Mass, taught catechism, and was a servant to her community. She loved gardening and spent hours carefully tending her flowers in her beautiful yard. Her children describe her as selfless – “She never complained,” they said. Her grandchildren have fond memories of “Camp Grandma” and lively family holiday gatherings.
Ben and Ginger were married nearly 66 years and in addition to their 11 children, they were blessed with 37 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren with more on the way. They have been residents of Crete, Nebraska, since 2011 and members of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Denton, Nebraska.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her nine siblings, and two of her children – daughter Mary Martin and son Dr. James “Jim” Martin.
She is survived by her beloved husband Dr. Ben Martin; children: Kim (Bill) Benson, Dr. Jeff (Donna) Martin, Dr. Steve (Simone) Martin, Jeanne Martin, Dr. Mike (Viann) Martin, Shannon (Doug) Carroll, Joni Duncan, Julie (Pat) Melena, Jill (Chris) Bessmer, and daughter-in-law, Jill Ruskamp (Randy); 37 grandchildren and their spouses, and 35 great-grandchildren.