Martha Clara (Mestdagh) Settelmeyer, 98, died peacefully surrounded by family on Dec. 22, 2020.
Martha was born in rural Benson County, North Dakota on April 15, 1922 to Henry and Emma (Poelvoorde) Mestdagh, homesteaders from Belgium.
She was taken to the country township school by their plow horse where she learned to speak English. Before starting school, she was fluent in Flemish Belgian, and Sioux, as those were the languages of the kids she played with. She completed high school in Sheyenne and attended North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
During WWII she worked in Chicago at Bendix Aviation inspecting carburetors for the B29 and F8 bombers. Attending a dance back home in Sheyenne she met the love of her life, Raymond (Mike) Settelmeyer. They married on Sept. 25, 1946 at Seven Dolors Catholic Church, Fort Totten. In Oberon and then Munster townships they started life together farming, and more opportunities brought them to Cottage Grove in 1962. Together they had 10 children, 27 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
Martha put her faith and her family at the forefront. With a selfless and tireless love she left every one of her kids feeling like they were the center of her world; this matriarch leaves a fiercely loving legacy behind. Her legendary Adams peanut butter toast, her ever-plentiful supply of ginger snaps and her ability to be present in so many different families’ daily ongoings always provided her kids with an indescribable sense of home. She taught all of her family to “Say Your Prayers and Make Good Choices” and how to kangaroo box.
She was part of a tribe of women who were pioneer advocates for the rights and services for people with special needs. She was a member of Catholic Daughters at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, taught CCD, and was a 4H leader.
Martha is survived by her children; Tom (Marianne) Settelmeyer, Jerry (Jan) Settelmeyer, Lorene (Jack) Luz, Emily Settelmeyer, Raymond (Donna) Settelmeyer, Jim (Joyce) Settelmeyer, Rick (Shari) Settelmeyer, Camille (Joel) Settelmeyer, Elise (Don) Settelmeyer-Carrico, 27 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by husband, Raymond (Mike) Settelmeyer, her parents, brothers Severe Mestdagh and Oscar Mestdagh, and son, John Settelmeyer.
A visitation was held on Dec. 28.