So, I started writing an “unlimited length” obituary for Dad and found I was writing the exact wrong length for me. I was cutting the long stories down, and what I was writing kept prompting side stories–about Ralph the Wonder Chicken, his love of Greatest American Hero, working at the lumberyard and at Five Points, playing poker for grocery money in college, the story of my first time playing D&D with him and Mr. Reed (as a 1 HP fighter…), there are so many stories that I couldn’t even nod at them and finish anything.
So, I then decided to break his life out of chronology and group it by topic. But life is an interwoven tapestry; some of the things that mattered so much to me were very tied to what he was going through in other facets of his life at the time.
So, rather than aim for perfection, I’ll instead spill words and more words over time. Hopefully it’s therapeutic–or at least a nice structured way to get thoughts from him down while they’re still somewhat fresh.
The short version of his obituary made it into the Fresno Bee and should make it into the Carpinteria Herald. I’ll place it here too, just so link rot doesn’t doom it.
James D Martin died October 3rd at 7:20 am at 72 years old. Graveside services were held October 7th at the Carpinteria Cemetery.
Jim was the son of Irma Viola Crump and William Elmer Martin—and could name several generations further back, if you gave him a brief space to explain. His sister Mary and two adult sons, Eric and Scott, each continue with families of their own. He is predeceased by his wife Meredith.
When Jim was born in Sacramento, grew up in Bakersfield, played football as a running back, and competed in track, both in Bakersfield and for Carpinteria High. From Porterville Community College he transferred to Fresno State, where he earned an English degree and began teaching.
He taught elementary students for 33 years throughout Central Unified—at McKinley, Roosevelt, and Steinbeck elementary schools. He was a mentor teacher with a master’s in education, known for his history simulations and the integration of life skills into ordinary lessons.
A memorial will be held in Fresno on Monday, October 10th at the 3602 W Shaw Marie Callender’s from 4 to 6 pm.