AVIS DE DÉCÈS
3 octobre 1936 – 12 septembre 2020
Donald Chris Martin (83) passed away at home on September 12, 2020, after a short but valiant battle with Plural Mesothelioma.
Don was born Donald Christobel Martinez to Christobel Martinez and Lena Elizabeth ‘Betty’ (Johnson) Martinez, on October 3, 1936, in Canton, Ohio. When his dad became a US citizen the entire family used the Americanized surname Martin. Don legally changed his name to Donald Chris Martin just before he was married to Donna Jean Weigand in 1958 so he did not have to fill out legal forms with his legal name and his assumed name.
Don grew up around those in the steel industry and on a farm. His early years were heavily influenced by music. Don graduated from Central Catholic High School, in Canton, Ohio, where he played the saxophone. His exposure to metallurgy during his school years in Canton shaped most of his working career. Through the mentoring of many neighbors and others he developed a wide interest in the world around him and he grew into a real Renaissance Man with wide ranging interests and knowledge. He always had a good camera and he knew how to use it. Don used his knowledge and his natural teaching abilities to help others throughout his life. Growing up in a farming community gave him the opportunity to work with animals and tinker with tractors. He had several jobs growing up, some of them with his school friend Bob Weigand, including as a pin setter at the local bowling alley. While in high school he took flying lessons, progressing to his solo flight. In 1954, Don joined the US Navy where he served for over 20 years. He retired in 1977 as a Senior Chief Hull Maintenance Technician. In his naval career he worked with metal as a fabricator and as a welder. Through the training he received and his own interest in metallurgy, he helped the Navy establish a Non-Destructive Testing School where welders were trained as inspectors for the naval nuclear power program. His skills were critical in keeping our nation’s nuclear deterrent force submarines at sea and operational. After retiring from the Navy, he continued in this field working for Bechtel Corp as a Quality Control Welding Engineer, initially working on the construction of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. After completion of the San Onofre project he went on to work at many other power plants and other facilities in support of the welding engineers. After retiring from Bechtel, he worked as a commercial truck driver, driving for his daughter, Denise, delivering water from the springs on Palomar Mountain, where he lived, to bottlers in San Diego and beyond.
Through his early childhood friendship with Bob Weigand, Don met Donna Jean Weigand, whom he later married in 1958. Don and Donna had four children – Dustan, Duane, Denise, and Debora. In 2004 he married his sweetheart of several years, Jo-Ann Agnes Mengel. Her four daughters and their families adopted him as their dad, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
A natural teacher, he was always quick to help others. The number of people whose lives he has touched over the years has been legion as he not only helped them but cared for them in many ways. He is missed by many, but especially by his family.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, by a daughter-in-law, Kelly (Krahn) Martin, and by a grandson, Andrew Martin. He is survived by his four children and their spouses Dustan Martin, Duane (Beth) Martin, Denise (Scott) Martin, and Debora Martin; their 10 children; and 9 great grandchildren; his wife Jo-Ann Martin and her daughters Linda, Ann, Janet, and Marie; their 4 children and 4 great-grandchildren.
A lifelong mariner, Don spent much of his free time on the ocean fishing or sailing around San Diego, California; Rota, Spain; Charleston, South Carolina; or anywhere else the family lived. His adventurous spirit helped charter the Palomar Mountain Yacht Club putting small sailboats on even the tiniest farm pond high on the famed mountain. The ashes of Donald Chris Martin will be scattered at sea at a future date when proper arrangements can be made following the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.