Martha Lois Roland
Martha Roland
Martha Lois Roland

March 30, 1925 - November 28, 2019
Born in Des Moines, Iowa
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa


Martha Lois (Miller) Roland was born on March 30,1925 in Centerville, Iowa. She passed away peacefully on November 28, 2019 at the age of 94 at Valley View Village in Des Moines, Iowa, where she resided for the past 35 years.

As a regular monitor of the obituaries section, this will be the first place she may look upon her departure, so we better make this up to snuff.

Martha was an original. A product of her Depression-era upbringing and her sheer independence. She left her childhood home of Ottumwa, where she graduated from Ottumwa High School, to attend Broadlawns School of Nursing. Following, she worked the night shift many years in the emergency room at Broadlawns - befriending fellow night-owl policeman, EMTs, and hospital staff as they played cards and drank coffee when it was quiet.

For 47 years, she was married to Bill Roland and they raised two daughters, Kathy and Karen, in Pleasant Hill, IA.

Des Moines School students may remember Martha as she was the no-nonsense school nurse for over forty years. Her frustration with many of the kids either losing or just not having access to warm hats and mittens in the winter months lead her, in her later years, to turn her hobby of knitting into an annual humanitarian project. Martha would knit various sizes of mittens and stocking caps, and then donate them all to a local school. For years she did this, and in 2015, Channel 13 gave her the World of Good award.

Her direct personality lent well to her frequent role of an organizer. Because of her, lives were saved, schoolchildren’s wounds were mended, people experienced a successful day tour or trip, or had everything they needed to begin a summer of work at Adventureland.

After retiring from nursing, Martha stayed busy planning trips for the City of Des Moines, as well as assisting her daughter and son-in-law during the summers at Adventureland amusement park in the HR office and group picnics.

Like many of her era, she felt a pull to genealogy. Martha had the family traced back to the days of Lewis & Clark and further, and told stories of more cousins than any of the rest of us could keep track of.

This avid Cubs fan made a mean beef and vegetable soup. As a daily consumer of milk and ice cream, she was a poster child for Blue Bunny and AE Dairy.

Although Martha never met a stranger, she wasn’t warm or one to show emotion. But, when you were lucky enough to get it, her smile would light up the room. Have her watch your dog for a couple hours and you’ll see her quiet contentment.

Martha was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her two daughters and their spouses, Karen and John Iwanicki (Pleasant Hill, IA) and Kathy Jo and Steve Anderson (Heber Springs, AR); as well as two granddaughters, Janet (Eddie) Myers and Jody (Luke) Duquette and three great-grandchildren, Dominic, Eddie and Avery.

Per her wishes, there will be no services and cremation rites have been accorded. Memorials may be directed to Hospice of the Midwest or Valley View Village. Online condolences are welcome at





Hospice of the Midwest
9203 Northpark Dr
Johnston, Iowa 50131
Valley View Village
2571 Guthrie Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50317