Martha Elizabeth Klevjer
Aug 18, 1919 – Mar 27, 2016
Martha Elizabeth Klevjer
Martha Elizabeth Baker Klevjer passed away peacefully in her sleep on Easter morning, March 27, 2016. Martha was the fifth of ten children, born on August 18, 1919 to Hallie and Walter Baker in Bourbon, IN. Martha grew up on the family-owned and -operated dairy farm. She graduated from Bourbon High School and went on to get her BS degree in nursing from Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
Martha was a quiet, introverted, gentle soul yet she was bold enough to enlist in the U.S. Army as a registered nurse, 2nd lieutenant during WWII. She had never traveled far from home and suddenly found herself being shipped out to work in a hospital outside London, England.
It was there she met a charming Norwegian-American soldier, Karsten Klevjer. Though he didn't speak much English, they managed to communicate. Martha had the courage of her convictions and a distaste for arbitrary rules. She dated Karsten even though, as an officer, she was not supposed to fraternize with enlisted troops. He swept her off her feet.
They married on December 19, 1945. Ever practical, she wed in her Army uniform and did not miss her hospital shift that evening as she was compelled to conceal her marriage. They were married for nearly 53 years, until Karsten passed away.
A devoted wife and wonderful mother, Martha and Karsten raised eight children. They lived in Brooklyn, NY and then made several moves across the country, eventually settling in Federal Way, WA where they lived for over 40 years. In 1968 she returned to her nursing career part-time and retired at age 70.
Growing up on her family's dairy farm during the Great Depression taught Martha great life lessons in self-sufficiency and thriftiness that were useful in raising her large brood - as were her nursing skills. Some of her children were embarrassed at school by the sandwiches Martha made them with "brown" (wheat) bread while all the other kids ate Wonder Bread. They were later thankful that their mom didn't let other's opinions or judgments influence her choices.
Martha loved reading, puns and word play. She enjoyed gardening, swimming and spending time with family. She was active in the St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way as a member of the Legion of Mary. She brought holy Communion to the home bound and faithfully prayed for all her family, friends, and others.
Martha was preceded in death by her parents; her siblings E.G. Stanley Baker, Mary Ruth Baker, Ralph Baker, Helen Baker Burns, James Baker, Nancy Baker Marcusson, Phyllis Baker Roy; Francis Baker Sopher; her husband, Karsten and their grandson, Kjell Streich Klevjer.
She is survived by her eight children, Else Klevjer of Courtenay, B.C.; Maia Klevjer of Seattle, WA; Paula Klevjer Anderson of West Hartford, CT; Joyce Klevjer (Bill Welch) of Renton, WA; Karl (Ginna) Klevjer of Renton, WA; Elizabeth (Eric) Worden of Gresham, OR; Lauren (Dave) Shimamura of Maple Valley, WA and Eric Klevjer of Kent, WA, as well as seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Martha also leaves behind one brother, Robert Baker of Washington Courthouse, OH and numerous nieces and nephews.
Those who knew Martha well recognized her depth of character, generous heart and unwavering faith. We feel she embodied the qualities of love spoken in the following verses:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)
A Funeral Mass for Martha will be held Monday, April 4, 2016 at 6:00pm at Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way, WA with a Graveside Service on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 1:30pm at Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, WA.
The family of Martha Klevjer wishes to express their sincere gratitude for the many kind expressions of sympathy, fellowship, and prayer. Your caring and compassion during our time of sorrow will always be remembered and treasured.
Remembrances in Martha’s memory may be made to the Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 30525 8th Ave. S., Federal Way, WA 98003.
This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.