Richard Martinez

Church Service

10:30 am - 11:30 am
Monday, January 15, 2024
St Paschal Baylon Church
155 E Janss Road
Thousand Oaks, California, United States

Obituary of Richard Gilbert Martinez

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Richard Gilbert Martinez, known as Dick to countless family and friends, died January 1st surrounded by loved ones, weeks shy of his 96th birthday. His passing not only reunites him with Jesus, but his beloved wife of 52 years, Gloria. He was known as endlessly generous, loving, kind, loyal, spiritual, and deeply committed to his family. He was truly a man of faith and to know him was to appreciate his virtuous character. Dick was born to Antonio and Genevieve in Alamosa, Colorado in 1928. A 12th generation Spanish American, he was always quick to boast that he was a descendant of the first Spaniards to settle in Colorado. His childhood was spent swimming in creeks with his brothers and helping his dad run the family grocery store. He received a four-year academic scholarship to the University of Denver, but was compelled to join the U.S. Navy after one semester. After graduating electronic school and serving overseas, he returned home to resume college. That’s when he met his Gloria - and the rest was history. The pair married after a year of dating. She was his childhood next door neighbor and they were delivered by the same doctor - it was always meant to be. The couple went on to have four children. In 1953, he was hired by Boeing as a junior engineer, tasked with developing the landing system in the B-52 Stratofortress. He and Gloria eventually moved to Goleta in 1966, in which they would reside for the next 30 years. Their home was filled with love, a revolving door for family, friends and pets. In addition to his 21 years as a marketing manager for Santa Barbara Research Center, he founded four businesses around Santa Barbara, including two sporting goods stores and a gift shop. He also found himself getting involved in local politics, because as he put it, he “didn’t like politics.” This led to a series of spirited, neck and neck runs for Goleta’s water board, Third District Supervisor and even for mayor. His hobbies and interests were endless - an avid golfer, he loved sailing his 21-foot Victory with the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, skiing in Lake Tahoe (he found great pride in reaching the “senior discount” for lift tickets!), fishing and camping with his kids and watching his Los Angeles Dodgers and Denver Broncos. He was a longtime member of the Goleta Valley Knights of Columbus, serving as Grand Knight in 1987. He and Gloria were lecturers at Marriage Encounters for 27 years, sharing their decades of marital wisdom to Catholic couples from all across the state. They volunteered for many charitable causes, including working with the mentally disabled for over a decade. They were members of the Santa Barbara Stardusters dance club and longtime parishioners at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Isla Vista. A lifelong athlete, he exercised into his 90s and was well known to ask his grandkids to give him a jab to the stomach - to show off how tight his abs were. In 2003 - at the spry age of 75 - Dick witnessed a young boy being assaulted while he was driving. He confronted the attacker, who then threw a rock through his car window. Undeterred, he followed the assailant until he was arrested. He received a commendation from the city of Thousand Oaks for his actions. The award summed up a life of selflessness, honor and character. Dick was generous, almost to a fault, lending money to whomever needed it with no expectation to be paid back. Dick is preceded in death by his wife, Gloria, and brothers Art, Harold, Chuck, Donnie and Paul. He is survived by his sister, Geneva, and brother, Tom, of Denver, son, Rick (Kathy) of Roseville, daughters Chris Bentz of Ojai, Lorraine (Ron) Mulick of Thousand Oaks and Andy (John) Testa of Dana Point. He answered to “Gramps” from nine grandchildren (Kara, Matthew, Jana, Marcus, Hannah, Joseph, Natalie, Erik and Tony) and was proud great grandpa to 17 more. Uncle Dick and Aunt Gloria were loved by innumerable cousins, nieces and nephews from both sides of the family. A funeral is scheduled for January 15 at 10:30 A.M. at St. Paschal’s Baylon Church in Thousand Oaks with a reception to follow. A private burial will follow with military honors at Riverside National Cemetery on January 17.
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