The Rev. Dr. Ray Fred Martens
February 3, 1933 – October 5, 2019
The Rev. Dr. Ray Fred Martens, a faithful servant of the Lord, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family at age 86 on October 5, 2019. He was born February 3, 1933 in Hufsmith, Texas to Ella and Alfred Martens. After his father died unexpectedly when Ray was 10 months old, he and his mother moved to Giddings to live with his grandfather, Rev. Gotthilf Birkmann.
Ray attended Concordia Lutheran College in Austin, then a boarding high school for boys. Ray studied at St. John’s College in Winfield, Kansas as a pre-seminary student, then Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. After graduation, Ray was assigned to Concordia Seminary in Springfield, Illinois as a professor of Greek and New Testament studies.
During his breaks from seminary studies, Ray courted his longtime family friend Jane Ruth Winkler, and they married in Giddings in June 1958. While in Springfield, they were blessed with three sons, Steve, Dave and Tom.
In 1973, Ray accepted a call to be President of his beloved Concordia College in Austin. He earned his Doctorate in Theology in 1974. Ray served as Concordia’s President for 20 years and President-Emeritus for a few more. Concordia realized many positive transformations during Ray’s tenure, notably the transition to a four-year college, addition of several buildings, and expansion of its curriculum.
Ray had a wide range of interests including stamp collecting, leading dozens of international trips, hunting, following the St. Louis Cardinals, singing with the Austin Saengerrunde, playing bridge, and leading bible studies. He was a skilled craftsman and an avid gardener. He especially loved attending his son’s and grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities. During his retirement years, he authored both a biography of his grandfather Birkmann and an autobiography.
Ray was a devoted husband, loving father, and doting grandfather. He is survived by Jane, his beloved wife of 61 years, and his sons Steve (Elizabeth), Dave, and Tom (Stephanie). He has seven grandchildren, Kelsey (Clayton Wells), Pearce, Daniel, Jeremy, Sam, Emily and Jennifer, and one great granddaughter, Paden.
Visitation at Weed-Corley-Fish (3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin) from 6-8 p.m. on October 10, family burial at Giddings City Cemetery on October 12 at 10 a.m., and celebration of life worship service at Redeemer Lutheran Church (1500 W Anderson Ln, Austin) on October 14 at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Concordia University Texas, designating the Ray F. and Jane Martens Scholarship Endowment.
- Concordia University Texas
- Visitation Thursday, October 10, 2019
- Memorial Service Monday, October 14, 2019
The Rev. Dr. Ray Fred Martens
October 15, 2019
My sincere condolence.
God bless you.
October 12, 2019
We thank God for Ray and his powerful ministry!
He indeed was a friend and our prayers are with Jane and family.
Sandy and Dave
October 9, 2019
When the Concordia Staggs basketball team won the national championship in 1983,he had a victory celebration party at VFW Post 8787. He said in Texas Hall when he made the announcement of the victory party that if he gave us the remainder of the day off that we would forget it.
October 8, 2019
Guess we are never quite prepared to hear that someone we respected and admired has moved on to the mansions which Jesus has prepared for us! Ray was an exceptional servant of Christ and His church in so many many ways. And, Jane was his partner through it all! Ray and I first met when I arrived at Concordia in the Fall of 1946 and our paths have crossed frequently since. What Ray and Jane did for Concordia is the stuff of legends!! RIP Ray. Gone from us be surely not forgotten!!
October 8, 2019
Dr. Martens stood miles above the rest. He always treated us students with kindness and respect. He and Mrs. Martens welcomed us to their home when we were so far away from our own. Dr. Martens has left a legacy of faithful now working in churches across the country. I remember dancing once with Dr. Martens at a dance. . . we were quite a sight to behold - his towering height and my 5 foot frame. . . but such a fond memory. God's blessings, peace and comfort to the Martens family.
Liz Alyea Brooks
October 7, 2019
Our sympathies are extended to the Martens family.
October 6, 2019
Ray Martens was a mentor, colleague and friend. His gift of longevity allowed him to advise several of his successors and his memory and wisdom provided an exceptional context for those of us who struggled to establish a vision. Ray was kind and caring and together with Jane, his beloved wife, he established a legacy on which generations can build. Rest in peace, faithful servant of Christ.