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Harry (Selma) Martens

Harry (Selma) Martens
Harry (Selma) Martens

Eminent Homemaker

County: Beadle

Mrs. Harry (Selma) Martens, 74, a 4-H Club leader for 22 years and an Extension Club member for 49, who was talking about the possible applications of remote sensing for agriculture in the 1960’s and irrigation and reclamation in the 1930’s and 1940’s, was honored in 1972 as Eminent Homemaker by the Board of Regents and South Dakota State University.

She was active in many of the projects which involved her husband who was a state legislator from 1945 to 1957 and who has served as president of the South Dakota Reclamation Association. Mrs. Martens was instrumental in organizing the Auxiliary of the State Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and was its first president in 1953.  She also was chairman of the Beadle County Soil and Water Conservation District Auxiliary from 1951 to 1970.

Mrs. Martens was one of the prime movers that convinced the state legislature during their special session in 1951 to approve funds for the 4-H dormitory and dining hall at the State Fairgrounds in Huron. The Wessington area resident also is known statewide for her 4-H and soil conservation work.

Mrs. Martens has held the offices of vice president of the American Legion Auxiliary at Wessington from 1947 to 1948, and was president, from 1948 to 1949. Mrs. Martens also has served as a rural area chairman for the cancer drive, community drive chairman for mental retardation and Red Cross. She helped raise funds for the Wessington library and her study club raised money for the Harvey Dunn exhibit. She also was active in getting a defensive driving course initiated in the Wessington Community.

Mrs. Martens, who was graduated from Brookings High School in 1916 and who attended Dakota Wesleyan University at Mitchell, taught rural schools in the Wessington and Hitchcock , South Dakota, areas. Mr. and Mrs. Martens have two sons and a daughter: Francis R. Martens, 49, who farms the home place; Harry H. Martens Jr., 32, who is assistant engineer and data processing coordinator of the state radio communication division of the office of the attorney general at Pierre; and Mrs. Faith M. Cahalan, Extension home economist for Hand County.

Beadle County Extension Agent Richard Fadgen said, “Mrs. Martens is known as the woman who gets things done.”