Sep 13, 2023 6:45 PM

Margaret “Moogie” Martenson Els

Posted Sep 13, 2023 6:45 PM
Margaret Els
Margaret Els

Margaret  “Moogie” Martenson Els, 64, died Sept. 7, 2023, in  Bonn, Germany, following a  nearly two-year battle with cancer.

She was born Oct. 2, 1958, in Burlington, the daughter of  Robert “Bob” and Dorothy “Dolly”  Martenson.

Like hundreds of area children in the 1950s and 1960s, she grew up in Iowa Army Ammunition Plant housing in Middletown, where her father worked for the Atomic Energy Commission. As a teen, she moved with her family to Danville, where her parents built an apple orchard they operated for nearly three decades.  

Margaret attended the now-gone St. Paul Grade School in Burlington and graduated from Notre Dame High School.

She attended Drake University for a year and spent a year studying in Dublin, Ireland. She became a paralegal and worked for Shuttleworth and Ingersoll law firm in Cedar Rapids. While attending the University of Iowa, she met her future husband Heinrich (Heiner) Els, a doctoral candidate visiting the university’s hydraulics engineering department.

They were married in St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Burlington on July 11, 1987, and made their home in Germany thereafter, first in Aachen and for the next 36 years in Bonn.

Margaret did charitable work, was vitally interested in politics, and was a prolific, passionate gardener — the latter a love and gift inherited from her mother.

She and Heiner spent many summer vacations sailing their sloop “Harle” on Europe’s seas. They traveled often and made many lasting friendships. They visited her parents in Iowa often over the years and hosted her parents on several memorable tours of Germany and Europe.

Margaret is survived by her husband, Heiner Els, at home in Bonn; her mother-in-law Gisela Valerie Els, who is 100 years old and still in good health; two sisters, Kitty Martenson, Las Vegas, Nev., and Mary Mertens, Des Moines; nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother Rick Martenson; her sister-in-law Eva Marie Sagner, who died in 2012; and her father-in-law Heinrich Alfons Els, who died in 1984.

Margaret’s ashes will be buried under the family tree in the Hummel Forest, a preserve for ancient beech trees in the Eiffel National Park in western Germany.

There will be no formal ceremony.

A memorial gathering, or rather as Margaret wished, a “happy get together of friends and family”  will be held sometime in October. 

Cards and condolences can be sent to Dr. Heinrich Els, Colmantstr. 12, 53115 Bonn, Germany, or to