Walter Leonard Martin, 95, formerly of Wykoff, died July 26, 2013 in the Chosen Valley Care Center in Chatfield.

He was born on March 12, 1918, to Arthur and Agnes (Gorman) Martin on the home farm in Pilot Mound Township. He attended country school in Pilot Mound, then attended Chatfield High School, graduating in 1936. After high school, he worked on several farms in the Fillmore County area. Through his work on the farms, he met Rebecca Walker. They were married Dec. 6, 1941, at the Methodist parsonage in Brownsdale, Minn.

Mr. Martin was inducted into the Army on Jan. 15, 1942, at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. He completed basic training in Texas and North Carolina. On Sept. 26, 1942, Private Martin of the 9th Infantry Division, 39th regiment - Fox Company - boarded the USS Thomas Stone bound for England. On the morning of Nov. 7, 1942, the ship was torpedoed and Private Martin, along with the other infantrymen, boarded life boats and sometime later were picked up by a British ship which took him to Africa. With Fox Company, he traveled across Africa and Europe. Like many WWII vets, Mr. Martin never talked much about his time in the Army until the last few years. He has since shared many stories with family and friends. He had been in many close battles and felt a strong presence of the Lord, watching over him and guiding him to safety. In December 1944, he was wounded in the shoulder and still carries a souvenir of shrapnel for which he received the Purple Heart medal.

After discharge from the Army, he returned to Wykoff and started farming with Mrs. Martin's father, Hugh Walker, on the Walker farm. The couple had two daughters, Patricia and Susan. Together they enjoyed traveling, square dancing, playing cards, watching the Twins or Vikings and hosting family in their home.

Mr. Martin served as a lay speaker in the Wykoff Methodist Church as well as serving on various committees for the church. As lay speaker he preached occasionally at area Methodist churches. He served many years as clerk for the Fillmore Township, was an adjustor for Spring Valley Mutual Insurance, is a member of the American Legion, has belonged to the Eastern Star and is a Mason. In 2010, he felt so blessed to be a part of a Southeast Minnesota Honor Flight.

He is survived by his daughters, Patricia (George) Toschak of Little Falls, Minn., and Susan (Douglas) Leinhart of Fort Collins, Colo.; his grandchildren, Adam (Kristal) Toschak of Denver, Anne (Kacy Lyman) Toschak of St. Louis Park, Minn., Christopher (Hope Schoonover) Leinhart of Littleton, Colo., and Kyle Leinhart of Nelson, Minn.; and a great-grandson, Dylan Schoonover. He was preceded in death by his wife on Sept. 23, 2011, his parents, Arthur and Agnes; his brothers, Clarence, Morris, Chester and Curtis, and his sisters, Ethel (Melvin Asleson) , Loretta, Mildred (Baldwin Narveson) and Hazel; and two siblings who died in infancy.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, July 31, at 11 a.m. at the Wykoff United Methodist Church. Burial will be at the Fillmore County Cemetery. Friends may call from 4 to 7 on Tuesday, July 30, at the Thauwald Funeral Home in Wykoff, and also one hour prior to the service at the church.