Donald Ray Mars, age 76, of Hastings, passed away on Friday, April 9 at his home surrounded by his family.
There will be a Celebration of Life service at 11 AM on Saturday, April 17 at the Evangelical Free Church. Pastor Scott DeWitt and Pastor Matt Sass will officiate. Interment with Military Rites will follow service at Parkview Cemetery in Hastings. Visitation will be Friday, April 16 from 5-7 PM at the Evangelical Free Church. The service will be live-streamed on Hastings Evangelical Free Chruch's Facebook page. The direct link for that page is http://facebook.com/hastingsefree .
Don was born on August 23, 1944, to Jacob and Henrietta (Hofland) Mars. Don grew up on a farm by Rock Valley, IA and later moved to Orange City, IA. He attended Orange City Christian School and Orange City High School. He took mechanical courses by mail and was a certified mechanic for Ford garage in Orange City, IA.
On April 15, 1966 he married Audrey (Mulder) in Ireton. After two years active duty military service at Fort Carson, CO he started a mechanic shop in Maurice, IA. Later he was a Store Manager for Goodyear in LeMars, IA before transferring to North Platte, NE. In 1983 he moved to Hastings, NE to work for Big G Auto. He later started his own Janitorial Service and worked at the Evangelical Free Church for 26 years before retiring in 2012. He also worked part time for the State of Nebraska for over 20 years. He served in the Army National Guard for 20 years and was very proud to be a Veteran. Don was a member of Evangelical Free Church for 37 years. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, woodworking projects, and home renovations. He had a mechanical mind and could fix anything.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, five children and spouses, thirteen grandchildren, and one great grandson. Children and spouses: Scott & Gena Mars of Shawnee, KS; Don & Audra Helsley of Ephrata, WA; Brad & Kim Mars of Gardner, KS; Aaron & Rhonda Aulner of Omaha, NE; and Kyle & Rachel Robinson of Hastings, NE; Grandchildren: Samuel Mars, Jacob Mars, Ryker Mars, Daniel & Caroline Helsley, Matthew Helsley, Ashley & James Toplikar, Tyler Mars, Joseph & Colleen Aulner, Andrew & Samantha Aulner, Timothy & Michaela Aulner, Katherine Aulner, Maddox Robinson, and Aubree Robinson; Great Grandson Wesley Aulner. Brothers and sisters are Vel Falkena, Darlene & Stan Ekdom, Bob & Sue Mars, Randy & Wanda Mars, Mick & Betty Vande Brake, Hendrene Mars and many nephews and nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, infant sister Shirley Beth, Lige Mars-brother, Gertrude (Mars) Vande Brake-sister, Clarence & June (Mars) DeVos-sister and brother-in-law, Debra Mars-sister-in-law, Jeanette & Harold Jager-sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jerry & Sandie Mars-brother and sister-in-law, Fred Falkena-brother-in-law, and Gary Mars-brother.
A memorial fund has been established in his honor. As an expression of sympathy contributions may be given to the family.