Roland Bruce Martin

April 21, 1928September 3, 2013

Roland Bruce Martin, 85, went home to his Lord, September 3, 2013. Roland was born April 21, 1928 in the old Visalia Hospital to Levelyn and Edna Martin. He was the first born of seven children. Roland is survived by all of his siblings; Lewis, Donna Mae, Levelyn Jr., David, Lucretia, and John .Roland lived his entire life in Visalia where he attended Conyer, Jefferson, and Washington Elementary schools. He was a member of the first class at Sierra Vista. Jr. High School. He graduated from Visalia Union High School in 1946. He never completely got over the Maroon and White colors staying at the now Mt. Whitney High School. Roland lived his childhood on South Encina Street near Jefferson School. That area and the wide open field and creek of what is now Mr. Whitney, was his childhood playground. Roland enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1947. He was part of the First Cavalary unit assigned as part of the occupational force in Japan. He was honorably discharged in April of 1950. He spoke fluent Japanese upon his return to the states, and retained the language even in his later years. In June of 1952, Roland married Dona Mae Kelley. They remained constant companions and best friends until his death. Roland is survived by his three children, Kevin (Stephanie), Nancy Moore (Paul), and Daren (Lydia), nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Family was extremely important to "Papa". He took care of everyone.Roland worked for Knudsen's Creamery for thirty years as a route salesman, where he met his best friend of over 40 years, Jake Preslik. They spent many adventures together during their lifetimes. Roland was also a longtime member of First Baptist, now Gateway Church. He was also a life member of the National Rifle Association and National Geographic Society , and the Tulare County Historical Society - always a lover of freedom and America. Roland's favorite hobbies were gardening, where he was known for his famous tomatoes, that he grew by the tons, just to give to others. From family members to friends and even his chemo nurse, they all loved Papa's tomatoes. He loved hunting and fly fishing. He looked forward every year to packing into the "back country", the "Middle Tule" with his family and friends to hunt, fish, play cards, and tell stories about "old Ben Harris." He was known as one of the "best shots" and brought down many a buck with his .300 Savage rifle. Roland lived his life in service to others- from mowing lawns, to giving away fruit vegetables, groceries and anything else anyone needed. He "lived his faith" to everyone. He will be greatly missed - his laugh, his jokes, his tall tales and stories, and his larger than life presence.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held Sat. September 7, at 10:00 at Gateway Church in Visalia. Viewing to be held Friday, September 6 from 5-7 at Miller Memorial Chapel in Visalia. Graveside Services will be Monday, Septmeber 9 at the Visalia Cemetary.


  • Visitation Friday, September 6, 2013
  • Memorial Service Saturday, September 7, 2013
  • Graveside Service Monday, September 9, 2013

Roland Bruce Martin

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September 12, 2013

Uncle Roland was from a generation to draw from hard working, kind and always cared for others. Even that crazy mean donkey just melted when he heard your truck, you would call that mean nasty ol donkey like a dog and he would come running to rest his head on you like a child waiting for his dad to come home:) you were forever friends for sure (of course it always bit me)I have so many memories of this wonderful man like the time you helped us move and moms poodles messed all over us in the front seat of your truck and you just kept driving like a real trooper (I would have barfed I have no doubt) I still can't believe how much was in my hair!!! Also I'll never tell about our conversations on how to grow and eat hot peppers;) my brothers never knew how I could eat the really hot one's without vomiting;) I'd laugh at them watching them try not to cry or puke. I'll never tell anyone what you told me about hot peppers:)"our secret pinky swear!" Love you so much Uncle Roland thank you for all the memories and thank you for being you!!! Love always Jeanine

September 11, 2013

The Doss family was your next door neighbors for many years and will always remember you and your family fondly. Loved it when you shared those plums from your tree. Our condolences to you all. ..Katherine (Doss) Johnson

September 11, 2013



Jon Foley

September 10, 2013

Here is a link to the slideshow from the memorial:

Feel free to share this with any family or friends.

Jon Foley
Grandson In-Law

lucretia boehner

September 9, 2013

i love you big brother...and i will miss you. ''you guys allright up there?'' i'll miss those calls just to ck on us. don loved you like a brother...and i know you loved him...cuz you said you did and your word was your bond! i still feel like i'm missing a finger. sister lucretia and don boehner

Mike Cotta

September 8, 2013

I work with Roland for years and remembered his great personality. Very happy going and an influence on the younger workers. God Bless.

September 8, 2013

I am so sorry for the heartache I know you all feel. Roland was one of a kind. Respected and loved by so many. He leaves a legacy that is never ending. Lean on one another....laugh and remember every day. I love you all. Pam

Elizabeth Martínez

September 7, 2013

Roland was such a great guy.. He Will be miss..

September 6, 2013

Papa Roland is/was a very large presence in so many lives. Loved his stories, jokes, his knowledge about Visalia and all the surrounding little cities. Especially appreciated the love he had for Dona and his children and their families. He was very much loved and will be greatly missed, but everyday will be a memory of Papa Roland.

jim and betteq leisten

September 6, 2013

Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.