January 30 1926 September 1 2019
Martha Ellen Milnes of Chariton, 93, died Sept. 1, 2019, at the Lucas County Health Center after a short illness. Visitation will be at Pierschbacher’s Funeral Home in Chariton on Sunday, Sept. 8, from 2-4 p.m., with funeral service at the First Lutheran Church in Chariton at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 9. Burial will be at Chariton Cemetery. Martha was born January 30, 1926, in Clinton, Iowa, to Carl Victor and Rachel Agnes (Wilcox) Carlson. She grew up on a farm near Camanche, loved doing farm work at home and for the neighbors, and was active in 4-H. She graduated from Clinton High School in 1943, attended business school in Davenport and worked as a secretary for the Burlington Transportation Company. It was at the bus company that she met Wiltsey Milnes, a widower from Chariton with three children, Lonnee, Linda and Eldon. Wiltsey drove the bus route from Chariton to Galesburg, IL. The sparks flew, and they were married Sept. 13, 1945. They lived in Calamus until 1952, when they moved to Chariton. To this union were born four children, Martha Kay (Marti), Jeff, Elizabeth and Cristiane. Wiltsey died in 1975. Martha lived on the Milnes family homestead from 1960 until her death. She worked for Forrest Grocery, Threlkeld’s Transport, Tierney’s Furniture, and was clerk in the Lucas County Treasurer’s office for 10 years before being elected County Treasurer and holding that office until her retirement eight years later. In her “spare time” she also attended and helped with kids’ activities, worked on the farm, took in ironing, sewed, gardened, canned, baked and cooked. She was active in the First Lutheran Church and served on countless committees over the years. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star for 75 years and a lifelong “good Democrat.” Her community spirit was indomitable, and she earned many awards for her volunteer work, including Citizen of the Year from the Chariton Area Chamber of Commerce in 2014, the Presidential Volunteer Award in 2012, and the Humanitarian of the Year for 2016. She was township secretary for 45 years, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, RSVP, the hospital auxiliary, county museum, Homestead activities and much more. She was always the first one at your door with a pie, plate of cookies, or a loaf of homemade rye bread if you were sick, had a new baby or a death in the family. She organized countless funeral lunches and drove “old people” to doctor appointments in Des Moines until she was 88 years old! Martha was also a member of the Town and Country Book Club, Breakfast Gals, Three-Mile Club, Chariton Women’s Club, a bowling team, quilt group and various card clubs through the years. Playing the piano, reading and playing cards with her special friends were her favorite pastimes, and she and Wiltsey were wonderful dancers in their day. She loved getting the family together at reunions, and she kept the family history in dozens of albums and scrapbooks. Martha is survived by her children: Linda Swarthout and Eldon Milnes, both of Long Beach, CA., Marti (Martha Kay) Kline (Shorty) of Mitchellville, Jeff Milnes of Baltimore, MD., Elizabeth Milnes of Alameda, CA, Cristiane Stone (Don) of Urbandale; 12 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Wiltsey, her parents, three sisters, daughter Lonnee in 2013, and a stillborn son. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Chariton Public Library, First Lutheran Church or the Lucas County Historical Society. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Martha Ellen Milnes please visit our Sympathy Store.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Martha Ellen Milnes January 30 1926 September 1 2019.
Death notice for the town of: Chariton, state: Iowa