John Martin Sr.

Obituary of John Martin Sr.

"Live life each day trusting completely in God."

John Francis Martin's Motto


On Saturday May 20, 2017 after a deeply devotional life, John Francis Martin Sr., passed away in his home in Santa Cruz surrounded by loved ones.

John was born on July 28, 1918 in Chicago, the third child of Irish immigrant Joseph A. Martin and his wife Mary Marron. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his M.A. from University of Chicago.

John met the love of his life, Mary Rowbotham, at a Chicago Catholic University Club dance in 1941. They married in 1942 and continued to dance together weekly throughout their lives. Second to God, Mary was his guiding light. Throughout his life he referred to her as "his bride". Mary passed away on September 30, 2010.

John served in the army from 1942 to 1946 attaining the rank of captain. In 1955 John, Mary and their eight children moved to Stockton, California where they had three more children. John worked as Chief of the Purchasing and Contracting Division at Sharp Army Depot, nine miles south of Stockton.

John was a strong, determined man. He was extremely disciplined, attending daily mass and exercising and swimming regularly throughout his life.

In 1980 John retired and the couple moved to Santa Cruz, California where they built their dream home overlooking the Monterey Bay. John was a very active member of his Catholic community, attending daily mass at the Shrine of St. Joseph's or at Holy Cross Church. He participated actively in the Knights of Columbus and Toast Masters.

John was also a performer: signing, dancing and doing comedy. He developed routines and performed at community centers in Santa Cruz. John had always wanted to be a published writer and in 2012 his dream came true with the publication of his book, Thirteen Mouths to Feed, Tales of the Martin Family.

There are so many people who cared for him, supported him and whom he would want to thank. But by far, the person he would want to thank the most is his wife of 68 years, Mary Jane Rowbotham Martin. "She taught me the true meaning of married love." He missed her deeply since her passing in 2010. John was very devoted to and supported by his religious communities the Oblates of the Shine of St. Joseph's and Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz. He would want to thank all of his family who will miss him dearly: Jon, Mary Ann, Joan, Timothy (deceased), Stephen (partner Dana), Tom (deceased, wife Cindy), Sue, Bill, Dan (wife Marilyn), Theresa (partner Chris) and Joseph (wife Kathryn). His grandchildren Cameron, Jennifer, Sean, Anthony, Melissa, Christopher, Lily, Nicole, Sean and Rachel and his great grandchildren Kylee, Dylan and Lauryn.

We will be celebrating John's life on Tuesday June 20th, 2017 at the Shrine of St. Joseph's, 544 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, California. The Rosary will begin at 1:00 pm with Mass Service at 2:00 pm followed by a reception.