Rockwell City - Martin Dale Hildreth, 89, life-long resident of Rockwell City passed away on October 20, 2023 at Accura HealthCare of Lake City. Memorial Services will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Rockwell City, with Father Brian Feller officiating at the Mass of Christian Burial. Visitation will be 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Palmer & Swank Funeral Home, Rockwell City. Private Family Burial will be at Rosehill Cemetery, Rockwell City, with Military Rites by the Amvets Post #41 of Rockwell City. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be left to the South Central Calhoun Elementary School.
The Funeral Mass will be Live Streamed on our Palmer & Swank Funeral Home Face Book Page.
Martin was born on December 18, 1933, the youngest child of Ben Hildreth and Lillian Barkmeier Hildreth. He graduated from Rockwell City High School class of 1951 and attended Westmar College in LeMars where he excelled on the football field. As his draft number drew closer, he enlisted in the United States Army in support of the Korean Conflict. While in LeMars, he would meet his future wife, Kathleen Newman. They would marry on May 15, 1954 in Texas. Kathy passed away in 1997. In 1999, Martin was united in marriage to Peggy Lange.
Upon the end of Korean hostilities and his discharge from the Army, Martin and Kathy returned to Rockwell City to raise their family. Joining them were three of Kathy’s sisters (Shirley, Bernice, and Arlene) whom they raised until they graduated high school. Martin and his father Ben operated Hildreth Mobile Oil and Hildreth Super Service. Upon leaving the petroleum industry, Martin founded Martin Hildreth Company, Inc.; a multi-faceted underground construction company which remains in the family today.
Martin was an avid horseman, taking a particular interest in Hackney Ponies. He bred and showed these prized animals all over the country for more than 50 years. He is a long-time member of the Iowa Draft Pony Hitch Association, where he is also a member of their Hall of Fame.
Second only to the love he had of his family was the love that he had of his hometown of Rockwell City. Martin was always involved in community betterment in one aspect or another and it would be impossible to quantify all that he did for the town. He was instrumental in the creation of the Rockwell City RV Park and Featherstone Campground at Twin Lakes, served on the Rockwell City City Council, the Rockwell City-Lytton School Board, was the Chair of the RAGBRAI Committee when Rockwell City last hosted, and in 1996 spearheaded the Calhoun County Wagon Train from Calhoun County to Polk County for Iowa’s Sesquicentennial.
Preceding Martin in death were his parents, Ben and Lillian Hildreth, first wife Kathleen Hildreth, four infant brothers, and his sister Joyce Reynolds and her husband Don.
Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Peggy of Rockwell City; sons Michael (Marilyn) Hildreth of Brookings, SD and Tom (Theresa) Hildreth of Rockwell City; surrogate son Randy (Becky) Hildreth of Rockwell City; step-son Rod (Lori) Lange of Sheldon; step-daughter Melissa (Al) Schumann of Ankeny; thirteen grandchildren, Chad Hildreth, Jasey (Kevin) Bratek; Ryan (Sandra) Hildreth; Michele (Kyle) Peterson; Karrie (Micah) Ramthun, Sara (Jeremy) Powell; Matt (Anne) Hildreth; David (Holly) Hildreth, Anne (John) Nisley; Nick (Amanda) Klatt; Nichole (Zach) DeHaan; Alex (Jessica) Lange; and Madison (Sam) Thielen; 21 great-grandchildren: Kayla, Connor, Hailey, Kathleen, Collin, Liam, Emmersyn, Quinn, Nora, Caleb, Gracyn, Isaac, Eli, Harper, Estella, Elliana, Lee, William, Willamina, Daphne, and Raelynn.