Ivar Richard "Dick" Martinsen, 90, died at his home in Providence Place, Drums, PA, on September 21, 2013, after a brief illness. He was born December 9, 1922, in Butte, MT, to Ivar and Mathea (Hage) who immigrated to the United States from Norway as a young married couple. After graduating from high school in Butte, he served in the US Army during WWII. He was stationed in the Aleutian Islands where he was an IBM operator. After his time in the army, he attended college at MSU-Bozeman, graduating in 1950. He taught for 2 years in Sydney, MT, and came to Sheridan in 1952.|
Dick was charged with starting an art department at the very young Sheridan College, a challenge he took on with passion. His first classes were held at the Wyoming Girls' School where he taught music in exchange for college class space. The classes were then moved to the site of the old Memorial Hospital where he taught in the abandoned operating suite. As the college grew, the classes eventually moved to the main campus, but were still confined to one classroom. This inconvenience didn't dampen his spirit. He moved painting easels, drawing tables, and potter's wheels daily in and out of the hallway to meet the needs of his students. Dick was very active in campus life. Throughout his time there, he was a sponsor for Phi Theta Kappa, acted as the head of the Art Department, and served as the chairman of the Humanities Division. He loved to support the community artists and enjoyed his involvement in several Civic Theater Guild productions. One of his favorites was the Cole Porter Review. Several local artists had attempted to hold a community art exhibit without much success. Dick felt this was a worthy cause and worked hard to make it a reality. A Community Art Exhibit finally came together under his direction and it became an annual event which he coordinated for many years. This exhibit gave local artists from many different art venues an opportunity to showcase their work. Local school children even had their art work displayed throughout the hallways. Under Dick's loving and passionate leadership, the art department continued to grow through the years, eventually having an addition built to house the growing program. Dick pursued his Master's Degree from the University of Wyoming and did some post-graduate work at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. Retiring in 1985 after teaching at Sheridan College for 33 years, the art gallery he created was officially named after him. The "Martinsen Gallery" continues to showcase the works of local artists.
Dick married his soul-mate, Geraldine Larsen, on April 5, 1958. They spent the next 55 years by each others side. They enjoyed their family and took many trips together. After retirement, Dick was able to pursue his lifelong passion, his own art work. He often said, "If your passion becomes your profession, then you never have to work a day in your life." Watercolor was his favorite media and landscapes were his favorite subject. He and Geri enjoyed traveling the US and spending winters in AZ. He enjoyed square dancing and golf with his wife. Over the years, he taught himself to swim and to down hill ski. Fishing was another love of his, a passion his grandson, Jacob, has taken up. There is just nothing better than spending a summer day on the rivers of the beautiful Big Horn Mountain. Last August, they made their last big adventure together, moving to Providence Place in Drums, PA, where they could be close to Kim and her family.
Survivors include his wife, Geri, of Drums, PA; daughters Kristy (Mark) Townsend of Sheridan, and Kim (Chris) Sauers of Drums. Dick is also survived by 6 grandchildren: Jacob, Kayla, and Cody Townsend all of Sheridan; Jessica (Ryan) Petrill, Jeni Nies, and Lindsey Keller, and one great grandson, Wyatt Petrill of PA. He is also survived by nieces Sandy Kieckbusch and Sally Bardsley of Butte, MT. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother (Evan), and a sister (Christine Strom) both of Butte, MT.
Memorial Service will be held Sat. Oct. 19, 2013, at 2 PM, at First Baptist Church in Sheridan WY, with the Rev. Charles Gifford and Rev. John Craft officiating. Cremation has taken place and inurnment will be at the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery in the Masonic Section. In lieu of flowers, memorials may benefit First Baptist Church, 3179 Big Horn Ave Loop, Sheridan, WY, 82801; or the Martinsen Gallery, c/o Sheridan College, 3059 Coffeen Ave, Sheridan, WY, 82801.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.
Published in The Sheridan Press from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2013