Top Banner for John Martel Obituary
John Martel Obituary

Brought to you by Simplify Iowa

John Martel

Des Moines, Iowa

June 24, 1945 - June 9, 2024

John Martel Obituary

John Richard Martel, lovingly known as Rich, passed away peacefully on June 9, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa. Born on June 24, 1945, in New Albany, Indiana, Rich was the cherished son of John Martel and Camilla Miller.

From a young age, Rich was deeply involved in his community. He thrived as a Boy Scout, acquiring numerous skills and values that shaped his character throughout his life. As a devout altar boy at his local Catholic church, Rich's faith was a cornerstone of his upbringing. He pursued his education in Catholic institutions, culminating in a bachelor’s degree, which laid the foundation for his lifelong journey of service and spirituality.

Rich’s life took a significant turn when he was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam era. Stationed in Texas, he discovered a profound passion for Social Work. Following his military service, he earned his Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) certification, dedicating his career to helping others.

On June 16, 1990, Rich married the love of his life, Jill Sorenson. Together, they embraced the Methodist tradition, enriching their spiritual lives and community involvement. Rich was a spiritual seeker, and with Jill by his side, they embarked on three memorable overseas pilgrimages: to the Holy Land, walking in the footsteps of Jesus; to Turkey, tracing the path of Paul; and to Ireland, exploring the ancient monastic movement.

Rich’s faith journey led him to active participation in several congregations. He taught Sunday School at Maple Grove United Methodist Church, served as a Stephen Minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and spent many years worshiping at Grace United Methodist Church. In recent years, he and Jill found solace and joy listening to the Carillon Bells at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Rich’s commitment to service extended beyond his church activities. He volunteered for LifeServe Blood Center, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, served on the Board of Directors for the Bidwell Riverside Center, and was a member of the Audubon Society.. Together with Jill, he developed and led 20 retreats for Maple Grove United Methodist Church at Camp Wesley Woods near Lake Ahquabi, Iowa, providing spiritual enrichment and community for many.

Rich's legacy is one of unwavering faith, compassion, and dedication to helping others. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, especially his beloved wife, Jill, and the countless individuals whose lives he touched through his work and volunteer efforts.

Rich is survived by his wife, Jill Sorenson; sister, Linda Swibold; nephew, Mark Dinsmore (Christianne) and their son Adam Dinsmore; niece, Laura (Dinsmore) Radetsky; brother-in-law, John Sorenson; mother-in-law, Mary Sorenson; and wife from a previous marriage, Sharon Connolly Martel.

He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, John R. Sorenson; and brother-in-law, Rich Swibold.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Saturday, August 31, 2024 at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge with a short time of reflection  Rich was a lover of the outdoors.  His family extends to your family to enjoy the day at the park. Raccoon River offers a beach, kayaking, trails and a playground. Your family is welcome to share the Nature Lodge with others all day from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions may be made their favorite charities, Home Instead and St. Croix Hospice.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of John Martel hosted by Simplify Iowa.

John Richard Martel, lovingly known as Rich, passed away peacefully on June 9, 2024, in Des Moines, Iowa. Born on June 24, 1945, in New Albany, Indiana, Rich was the cherished son of John Martel and Camilla Miller.

From a young age, Rich was deeply involved in his community. He thrived as a Boy Scout, acquiring numerous skills and values that shaped his character throughout his life. As a devout altar boy at his local Catholic church, Rich's faith was a cornerstone of his upbringing. He pursued his education in Catholic institutions, culminating in a bachelor’s degree, which laid the foundation for his lifelong journey of service and spirituality.

Rich’s life took a significant turn when he was drafted into the US Army during the Vietnam era. Stationed in Texas, he discovered a profound passion for Social Work. Following his military service, he earned his Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) certification, dedicating his career to helping others.

On June 16, 1990, Rich married the love of his life, Jill Sorenson. Together, they embraced the Methodist tradition, enriching their spiritual lives and community involvement. Rich was a spiritual seeker, and with Jill by his side, they embarked on three memorable overseas pilgrimages: to the Holy Land, walking in the footsteps of Jesus; to Turkey, tracing the path of Paul; and to Ireland, exploring the ancient monastic movement.

Rich’s faith journey led him to active participation in several congregations. He taught Sunday School at Maple Grove United Methodist Church, served as a Stephen Minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church, and spent many years worshiping at Grace United Methodist Church. In recent years, he and Jill found solace and joy listening to the Carillon Bells at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Rich’s commitment to service extended beyond his church activities. He volunteered for LifeServe Blood Center, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, served on the Board of Directors for the Bidwell Riverside Center, and was a member of the Audubon Society.. Together with Jill, he developed and led 20 retreats for Maple Grove United Methodist Church at Camp Wesley Woods near Lake Ahquabi, Iowa, providing spiritual enrichment and community for many.

Rich's legacy is one of unwavering faith, compassion, and dedication to helping others. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, especially his beloved wife, Jill, and the countless individuals whose lives he touched through his work and volunteer efforts.

Rich is survived by his wife, Jill Sorenson; sister, Linda Swibold; nephew, Mark Dinsmore (Christianne) and their son Adam Dinsmore; niece, Laura (Dinsmore) Radetsky; brother-in-law, John Sorenson; mother-in-law, Mary Sorenson; and wife from a previous marriage, Sharon Connolly Martel.

He was preceded in death by his parents; father-in-law, John R. Sorenson; and brother-in-law, Rich Swibold.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 pm Saturday, August 31, 2024 at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge with a short time of reflection  Rich was a lover of the outdoors.  His family extends to your family to enjoy the day at the park. Raccoon River offers a beach, kayaking, trails and a playground. Your family is welcome to share the Nature Lodge with others all day from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family wishes memorial contributions may be made their favorite charities, Home Instead and St. Croix Hospice.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of John Martel hosted by Simplify Iowa.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of John Martel.