OBITUARY

Martin Stark

November 10, 1940November 21, 2021

Martin Stark, 81, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Martin was born on November 10, 1940 in Dattenhausen, Germany to Josef and Maria (Guffler) Stark. Martin emigrated from Germany to Chicago with his wife and two small children in April of 1969. His brother Max got Martin a job in a large Chicago bakery where he worked nights while taking English classes during the afternoon. Soon thereafter, Martin started a new job at Battenfeld Corporation – a plastics injection molding machine company. His education, business savvy, people skills and strong work ethic allowed him to quickly move up the corporate ladder. In 1981, after accepting a position at Bekum America, he moved his family to Okemos, Michigan. With the same determination and work ethnic, he ultimately became President and CEO in 1992 and Chairman in 2010. Martin was a dynamic and tireless advocate for the plastics industry and devoted more than 50 years of his career to the growth and internationalization of “all things plastic”. His motto was twofold, “never let a customer down” and “employees matter”. Martin’s many achievements won him an SPA Blow Molding Division Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 as well as earning him a spot into the Plastics Hall of Fame in May 2018. He remained as Chairman of Bekum America until October 2021 when he officially retired. Martin is survived by his wife of 56 years, Erika Stark; his son Juergen (Andrea) Stark; his daughter Bettina (Peter) Bruno; his son-in-law Jerry (Aline) Sambaer; 11 grandchildren: T.J., Julia & Micki Stark, Alex & Noah Bruno, Nicholas, Abbey, Patrick, Gerald III, Mitchell & Benjamin Sambaer; sister Maria Mielimonka; brother Herman (Doris) Stark; sisters-in-law Trudy Stark and Victoria Stark and many nieces and nephews. Martin was reunited in death with his adored daughter Petra Sambaer. He was also preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Anton, Max, Erwin and Josef Stark; sisters-in-law, Irmgard and Centa Stark and brother-in-law Helmut Mielimonka. To Martin, his family was his entire life. He enjoyed traveling, playing tennis, golfing, watching sports and reading in his recliner. He was a constant presence at his grandchildren’s events and their biggest cheerleader. Martin was a beloved Pops and Opa to more than just his family. He was respected and admired by many and will be greatly missed. A funeral mass will be held at St. Martha’s Parish in Okemos on Friday, December 3rd at 11:00 a.m. Private entombment will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. The family will start receiving guests at 10:00 a.m. for a one hour visitation. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes of East Lansing. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Martin’s memory to Be the Match @ https://bethematch.org (via online payment or print/mail form) OR the PlastiVan program thru the SPE Foundation at give.4spe.org/martinstark (via online direct link or send check payable to SPE Foundation to 83 Wooster Heights Road, Suite 125, Danbury, CT 06810). Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.greastlansing.com for the Stark family.

Services

3 December

Visitation

10:00 am - 11:00 am

St. Martha Catholic Church

1100 W Grand River Ave
Okemos, Michigan

3 December

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am

St. Martha Catholic Church

1100 W Grand River Ave
Okemos, Michigan

Memories

Martin Stark

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Carleen Nelson-Nesvig

December 1, 2021

SAYING GOODBYE TO A LEGEND
How do you say goodbye to a legend?
A man who always took the time to listen and genuinely cared about what you had to say;
A man who considered feelings as well as facts;
A man who loved you in spite of your mistakes or station in life;
A man who found the world full of wonder and was grateful to God for it;
A man whose strength was offered up with gentle hands and a loving heart;
A man who gave all he had to give without complaint;
A man who honored the Lord, his family, his friends and his community;
A man that could correct your behavior and hug you after;
A man that helped you become more than you are;

How do you say goodbye to a legend? By letting him live in your heart. By finding the knowledge, the strength, and the compassion to be more like Martin. To love and honor others. To listen and respect them for who and what they are. For knowing and doing the right thing, even when it hurts. By using patience and tolerance. By walking in his footsteps.
Choosing to take the road of a legend is not easy, but Martin has shown us the way. I join the many whose lives have been so much richer because Martin was in our world. It is an honor to follow his footsteps whenever we can and do so in his name.
We cry tears on this sad occasion and yet, we smile. So grateful for all Martin has given us over the years. A legacy and a legend that will never be forgotten.


Bob Palazzolo

November 30, 2021

I first met Martin (Mr. Stark) after working for Bekum, I left Bekum and started my own business building Blow molds.
I was called onto Martin's carpet to account for my company's failure on a project early on, when I was new in business. Martin took the time to explain to me why it was very important not to let any customers or anyone's expectations down, Bekum's or anyone's, as I had done with him and Bekum at that time. He took the time to school me in the best possible way.
I never forgot that wise advice. I am happy that he took the time to influence me the way he did.
If not for the day he took the time to call me on the carpet and give me his wise advice I would not be in business today.
In the most recent years, I would see Martin and his wife at Sunday Mass on Sundays.
No doubt about it, Martin was a Man of faith.
3rd maybe 6th row 11 am Mass, that is where he was on Sunday's.

Martin invited me golfing once, I was so bad he never invited me again. So wise.
After the golf outing, we went to his house for companionship. I noticed he had a glorious row of Blackeye Susan's flowers along the side of his driveway. He was proud of them. He said he had a guy.
I have many fond memories of Martin and I am so glad he was a part of my life.
Martin made my life a lot better than it would have been without him.

I am very thankful Martin was in my life.

Bob Palazzolo





Wolfgang Meyer

November 30, 2021

Martin Stark has been a dear friend since we met almost 45 years ago. His achievements at Bekum America and in the plastics industry as a whole are unique and outstanding. Aside from being friends, Martin became a competitor, a customer and eventually encouraged me to take on my current role at Bekum America. I am forever grateful and will miss you.

Kevin Kuzera

November 30, 2021

We are thankful to have been neighbors, friends, helpers, and dinner companions. We shared two decades worth of life, laughs and projects together. You told great stories about each of your grandchildren and your children. You always made us smile.
We will miss you Martin. May God continue to bless your family, protect them, and give Erika peace and strength.
Kevin & Kerri

James and Loralee Vassar

November 29, 2021

I was very fortunate to get to know Martin and his amazing team at Bekum. He gave us a chance allowing our business to grow and prosper. Martin was a man that made good people great and I will never forget the kindness he showed me. I will miss him.

Scott Steele

November 29, 2021

I am so saddened to learn about the passing of Martin. I want to offer my condolences to his entire family. I have known Martin professionally going back to the beginning of his leadership tenure at Bekum America. I was introduced by Franz Gittner and I will always remember how welcoming Martin made all of his visitors feel. He always had time to talk when I would see him at any plastics industry event. I admired his passion for education and his efforts to build the apprenticeship program. My very best to his Bekum family as well.

Allegra Johnson

November 26, 2021

I send my condolences and hugs. What a wonderful man, so kind, so thoughtful and so loved.

Mel O'Leary

November 26, 2021

Martin was the Quiet Titan in the Blow Molding Industry. Low on fanfare but high on accomplishment and integrity. He built up Bekum into the industry leader in equipment and technology and he helped and mentored many employees, vendors and customers and made them better at their crafts. He did his job well and left behind a strong, committed and talented team to carry on his Legacy. His kindnesses to me and to others will undoubtedly be unforgettable. Rest in peace Martin and may God keep you.

Dennis Sullivan

November 25, 2021

I enjoyed working for Martin at Bekum. He was a true gentleman and loved his family and treated all employees with respect. Glad I had the opportunity to know him.

Karl & Brigitta Bruning

November 25, 2021

Martin was my boss for 20 years. I am grateful for having had such a fair and correct superior. As head of BAC, he worked tirelessly for the growth and success of the company. He was always receptive to ideas helping to improve the organization and its products. Because of his dedication to the industry he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame.
We admired Martin’s devotion to his faith and to his large family. We learned that he was a modest, caring friend to friends.
For Brigitta and me Martin lives in our hall of fond memories.
May God give him his well deserved peace.
Martin, ruhe sanft!

Karl H Bruning

FROM THE FAMILY