The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

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Joseph N. Martell


September 20, 2018

HURLEY, Wis. - Joseph N. Martell, 98, of Bessemer, died Monday, Sept. 18, 2018, at the Villa Maria Health Care Facility in Hurley.

He was born July 13, 1920, in Bessemer, Mich., to Napoleon and Phoebe (Audet) Martell and moved to Ironton Location.

He attended elementary school at Puritan and St. Sebastian Schools. He graduated from A.D. Johnston High school in 1938. While in high school Joe was enrolled in the Junior ROTC program for three years becoming a sergeant. He also attended two summer courses at CMTC camp at Fort Brady.

Following graduation, Joe joined the Civilian Conservation Corp for two years serving at Camp Norrie and Camp Port. After the CCC, Joe worked for Kelto-Velin Grocery store while working on an army extension course for commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. Late in 1941, Joe sat before the board of officers in Detroit and was given a commission of 2nd Lieutenant.

Joe was ordered to active duty on Mar. 15, 1942, reporting to Camp Roberts, San Obispo, Calif. He was then sent to officer's commendation school at Fort Benning, Ga. Afterwards Joe was ordered to report to Camp Adair in Corvallis, Ore., and joined the 96th Division.

Joe was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 382nd Infantry Regulars as a communication officer. His duty was to teach new recruits coming in about communicating messages in the service during war. He was later promoted to 1st Lieutenant and was given the job of 2nd Battalion Headquarters Co. Commander and served in this position thru training and the Philippine Campaign. As a Company E Commander of the 96th Division, Joe led the company into final phases of the battle for Okinawa. He was wounded from shell fragments of a tree burst on July 14, 1945. Joe received the Purple Heart in World War II.

Joe worked with his father and owned gas stations in Bessemer. He retired from the business in 1976 after over 30 years of service. He also plowed snow for many people during this time and opened a U-Haul business.

He met the love of his life while at the gas station and married Betty Marie Rizzie on April 11, 1953. They were married for 64 years until Betty's passing in September 2017.

Joe is a life member of the American Legion Post 27, a life member of Disabled American Veterans Post 66, and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673. Joe also headed up the Honor Guard for both the VFW and American Legion. Joe served as Post Commander of both the American Legion and the VFW. He ran the VFW and St. Sebastian Bingo games for many years. He was an original member of Marty's Goldenaires, serving 47 years in many capacities. He also coached and managed Little League and Babe Ruth for many years.

Joe was one of the longest standing members of the Lions Club. He was a founding member of St. Vincent de Paul and designed the building and was the manager for many years. He served as a board member of St. Sebastian School Board.

He is survived by his children, Jim (Dawn) Martell of Sarasota, Fla., Dennis (Colleen) Martell of Potterville, Mich., Susan (Rich) Rausch of Midland, Mich., Paul (Kelly) Martell of Green Bay, and Michael Martell of Bessemer; 11 grandchildren, Carrie (Rico) Frias, Christie Martell, Amie Martell, Stephanie (Michael) Matalone, Phillip (Jessica) Rausch, Matthew Rausch, Steven Rausch, Joshua Martell, Carson Martell, Aaron Martell and Megan Martell; and five great-grandchildren, Cameron, Ysabel, Maceo, Emil and Alexander.

In addition to his parents and stepmother Florence (Tourville) Martell, he was preceded in death by his wife Betty, sister, Theresa Sharpe, brother-in-law Glen Rizzie and his nephew, Dean Rizzie.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer. Father Dominic Agyapong will be the celebrant. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Rite of committal and internment will follow at the Hillcrest Cemetery in Bessemer. Full military rites will be conducted by the combined American Legion Post 27 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3673 Honor Guard.

Memorials are preferred to St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer. Arrangements are by Frick-Zielinski Funeral Home in Bessemer. For more information or to express online condolences visit


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