Norma May (Ziebarth) Martell passed away at the Odyssey Hospice in Mesa, Ariz., on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the age of 84.

Norma was born on April 1, 1924, in Le Sueur, Minn., to Ida and William Ziebarth. During high school she fell in love with Eldon “Jim” Martell (a sharp dresser!) and they were married on May 6, 1943, right before he shipped out to serve in the Army during World War II.

Upon his return, Norma and Jim went to work for Jim’s parents, Ben and Marie, in the family restaurant in Le Sueur. The restaurant evolved into Martell’s Holiday House on the scenic Minnesota River in St. Peter. Norma, “the hostess with the mostess” and Jim worked side-by-side for 38 years until the restaurant closed. They retired to Mesa in 1993.

Norma enjoyed going to the movies and watching the Vikings play football, but her greatest joy was her family. She was happiest when her children and grandchildren surrounded her.

Norma is survived by her husband Jim and her children: Ann Denver of Aspen, Colo.; Linda (Kirk) Nelson of Cordillera, Colo.; Ben (Kelly) Martell of Le Sueur; Teri Martell of Le Center; and grandchildren: Zachary (Jenny) Deutschendorf of Basalt, Colo.; Anna Kate (Jamie) Hutter of Wanaka, New Zealand; Matthew (Maria) Nelson of Fraser, Colo.; Joshua Nelson of Denver, Colo.; Jacob Martell and Taylor Martell of Le Sueur. She is also survived by her brother Irving (Hap) Ziebarth and his wife, Alice; her sister-in-law, Clarice Ziebarth; and many nieces and nephews and their families.

She was preceded in death by her brothers Stanley, Ivan and Merlin, sister Berneida (Nonnie) and son-in-law, John Denver. No public memorial services are planned. Memorials will be given to Catholic Charities.

God looked around

his garden

And saw an empty space.

He then looked down

upon this earth

And saw your smiling face.

God’s garden must be


He always takes the best.

For an unknown reason

he took you up to heaven,

and shielded you with grace.

It broke our hearts

to see you go,

But you did not go alone.

For part of us went with you,

The day God called

you home.