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Charlene Martin - October 12, 2012

Charlene Barbara (Critchlow) Martin died and met her Lord and Savior peacefully on Oct. 12, 2012. Charlene was the youngest of three daughters born to Cecil Edkerson and Edith Andelline (Carpenter) Critchlow on Sept. 21, 1924 in Holyoke.

Charlene and her two sisters, Doris and Marge, known as the “Critchlow Girls,” were raised in their family home in Holyoke. Charlene accepted the Lord at a young age and was baptized at First Baptist Church and had been a member of the Baptist church for her lifetime. Charlene remained grateful for Jesus, the Bible and her hope for heaven and demonstrated her belief throughout her life with acceptance of living “one day at a time and to keep looking up.”

Edith, her mother, died unexpectedly during surgery at the young age of 42, leaving Cecil with 16-, 18- and 20-year-old girls to raise. At that time, Fred and Etta Peterson opened their home to Charlene until she graduated from Phillips County High School in 1942. Charlene learned early in her life to “count her blessings and name them one by one.”

Charlene met the “love of her life,” Ben Martin, while working at the Holyoke Creamery. They committed their love and devotion to one another through a three-year engagement while Ben fulfilled his Navy Seabee obligation in the South Pacific Islands. During that time, Charlene lived with her sister and her husband, Margie and Lloyd Kehr, in California and with her sister Doris in Wichita, Kan. in the early 1940s.

Charlene and Ben were united in marriage Feb. 25, 1945 and began their farming and ranching life together on a farm west of Lamar, Neb. while raising their two children, Terryl and Pamela. In 1969, Char and Ben purchased Rock Creek Ranch west of Benkelman, Neb., which provided them the opportunity to fulfill their passion for ranching while also farming in Chase County with their son, Terry and family.

They sold the ranch in 1989 and moved to Cañon City to retire and to be closer to Pamela and her family. Shortly thereafter, Ben was diagnosed with leukemia and died and met his Savior face to face in 1993. They were blessed with 48 years of marriage together, and Char missed “her Ben” more every day of every year of the next 19 years of her life.

Charlene returned to her family roots in Holyoke in 1998 and enjoyed sunny golfing days and riding her bicycle! Charlene was a devoted wife, homemaker, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and dedicated her life to serving her family.

Charlene was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ben; sister, Margie; and granddaughter, Heather Ann Martin.

Charlene’s loving family survivors include her children, Terry Martin of Holyoke and Pamela Brixey and husband Roger of Wetmore; grandchildren, Shadric Martin, Derek Brixey and wife Shelly, Shyla Swisher and husband Dale and KC Martin and wife Gina; great-grandchildren, Amber Martin, Haley Martin, Kylie Brixey, Emily Brixey, Calie Swisher, Summer Martin, Tayla Martin and Teagan Martin; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made in the name of Charlene Martin or donated to Sangre de Cristo Hospice (online to

A Celebration of Life service was scheduled at First Baptist Church in Holyoke for Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. with her nephew, Pastor Doug Kehr, officiating. Interment was to follow at Greenlawn Cemetery in Lamar.

Gerk Funeral Homes was entrusted with the arrangements.

Online condolences may be left at