June 1, 2019

Nola Delores (Dunning) Martin, 92, of Hutchinson died June 1, at Harmony River in Hutchinson. Memorial service was Saturday, July 13, at Oak Heights Covenant Church in Hutchinson.

Nola was born Nov. 9, 1926, to Millard and Evelyn Dunning in Champlin. She attended grades 1-8 at Champlin School, which was built by her great grandfather. At Osseo, Nola attended grades 9-11. Her mother, a private cook, began work at Big Thunder Lake so Nola attended her senior year and graduated from Remer High School in 1945.

Providentially, while in Remer, she lived with a family of believers. Growing up, she was forbidden to enter a Protestant church. But when invited to a home Bible study, she felt free to attend. There she learned Jesus was the only way to have forgiveness of sin and the way to heaven. It was then Nola accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

Through an invitation of a friend, Nola enrolled in Trinity Bible School and Seminary in Minneapolis, to learn more about the Bible. This was the Norwegian Evangelical Free Church School that she attended for two years. Here she met Don Martin. Nola continued her Bible studies at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada.

Nola and Don were married June 26, 1948, at St. Louis Park Congregational Church. Their first of five pastorates was in North Dakota, where winters were long, with extreme weather. They lived like pioneers (no central heat/air, no running water/sewer, no modern appliances). During these four and half years, Lonna and Rebecca were born.

For the next eight and a half years, they served an independent church at Pemberton. Marcia and Tim joined the family during this time.

Don was called to minister in Silver Lake at the Congregational Church (now Grace Bible Church), where they served for 28 years. They were foster parents for about 40 children, 27 of those years. She was a faithful pastor’s wife for nearly 55 years, teaching Sunday school and VBS for decades. Nola’s community service included 13 years on the Silver Lake Ambulance (EMT) and a teacher’s aide for 13 years at the elementary school.

Retirement came in 1989 when they bought a home and moved to Hutchinson. Nola continued her community service by being a volunteer driver for Trailblazer (47,000 plus miles), a private driver and a private caregiver. Soon followed 14 years of serving the Congregational Church in Brownton, a nearby town. In August 2016, they sold their home and moved to Ecumen Pines. When Nola’s health deteriorated, she moved to Harmony River in March 2019. She and Don were married days short of 71 years.

Nola’s many interests included homemaking, enjoying God’s creation, gardening, Scrabble, puzzles and collecting bone china teacups and teapots. Campfires and camping were most enjoyable, visiting 46 states plus Canadian provinces. Travels included Europe, Israel and Venezuela.

She was known for her easy smile, sense of humor, concern for others, unique laugh, congenial attitude and helpfulness. Other traits included being a good listener, role model, loyal and dedicated mother and grandmother, gracious hostess and loyal friend to many. Nola had a quiet confidence, was a model of strength and determination, and was never a complainer.

She was preceded in death by her parents Evelyn and Millard Dunning; brothers, Dale and Myrle; two sisters-in-law; one brother-in-law; and two sons-in-law.

Nola is survived by her husband Don; children and spouses, Lonna, Rebecca (Doug), Marcia (Rik) and Tim (Carolyn); 13 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and nieces, nephews and friends.

Recommended for you