Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden and his wife Sara Jane announced the death of their daughter, Sydney Marie Martenis, in an official statement Tuesday.
Martenis, Van Orden’s oldest daughter, had been fighting an aggressive form of cancer for over a year before her death. The family gathered around her to provide comfort before she passed.
“It is with the most profound sense of grief and joy that Sara Jane and I announce the passing of our oldest daughter, Sydney Marie (Van Orden) Martenis, after a year of battling a very aggressive form of cancer,” the Representative said in a statement released by his office. “We are heartbroken that we cannot share her smile and laugh in person any longer but are so thankful that she is resting with our Lord and that we were able to spend these years with her and her family.”
Sydney is survived by her mother and father, her grandma, her husband Chris, her daughter Madelyn, her sons Charlie and Roman, her sister Abigail (Williams), and her brothers Theodore and Daniel.
The news was followed soon after by a heartfelt tribute from Chris Martenis, Sydney’s husband. On social media, he described her as an exemplary wife and mother who always worked hard and did her best for their family.
“She was a better partner and wife than I deserve – she made me a better person through her example in how to be a good friend, how to care for kids, and how to take part in a loving marriage. She was exemplary – she held herself to a standard that few, if any, could meet. The world is less bright without her here,” he said.
The news of Sydney’s passing drew outpourings of support for the Van Ordens from colleagues and those familiar with the family.
“No parent should have to experience this kind of heartbreak,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. “I’m praying for [Rep. Van Orden] and his family during this tragic time.”
Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin expressed her condolences to the Van Orden family, writing, “I am so incredibly sorry for your loss, [Rep. Van Orden]. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones grieving this loss, and I am keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time.”
Sydney Martenis’ funeral arrangements are still pending. The family asks for privacy and respect during this difficult time.
Statement from Rep. Van Orden: pic.twitter.com/drkaUTtDvr
— Rep. Derrick Van Orden Press Office (@RepVanOrden) August 22, 2023