Daniel Monroe Martin, 75, peacefully passed away in his home in Tucson, AZ on Thursday, July 16, 2020 after a four-and-a-half-year battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Dan was born on October 24, 1944 in Indianapolis, IN to David and Thelma Martin. He grew up with his older brother, David, and his younger brother, Jeff. Life with two brothers was never boring! The boys used to hide food they didn’t want to eat behind the refrigerator or feed it to the dog. They built model airplanes and blew them up with cherry bombs. The mischief continued when Dan and his friends stole all of the erasers from the classrooms at their high school (they did return them once a deadline was announced). David and Dan were much older than Jeff. When they were told by their parents to bring Jeff along, they often pushed him down in the backseat and made him hide so no one would see them with their little brother.
Dan graduated from Carmel High School in Carmel, IN in 1962. He attended a technical school in Louisville, KY and worked for a few years before joining the Navy in the spring of 1966. Dan was stationed in Norfolk with his older brother, David. Their ship, the USS Fremont, was deployed to the Mediterranean during the Vietnam War. In the summer of 1966, during Dan’s basic training, he and his buddy went to Indiana Beach to do some water skiing. They needed a spotter, so they walked up to a group of young ladies to see if they would come along. That’s when Sharon’s friends took off and left her alone with two strange men. Well, that day was the beginning of a relationship that ended in 51 years of marriage!
Dan held several different jobs, but nearly 30 of his working years were spent with the same company! His job was a means to an end—providing for his family. Sharon was able to stay home with their three children, Wendy, Chad, and Chris, until Chris started elementary school. Dan’s job did not require him to work much after hours, so when he got home, it was family time. Dan loved to grill dinners, play games, ham it up for the camera, go to the lake, ride bikes, take RV trips across the country, and blast his favorite songs (over and over and over again!). Dan showed his love by giving nicknames to his siblings, parents, children, and children’s friends. For example, the eldest living, male Martin is sarcastically deemed the “Bright One,” an honor that Dan himself held for nearly 15 years! He loved finding good deals, especially on vehicles. The number of motorcycles, cars, trucks, boats, and RVs the family owned over the years was in the hundreds! When the kids were all driving, the front yard looked like a used car lot! Dan loved to keep busy, always working on projects in the garage, sprucing up cars, or tinkering with something. He frequently helped others, willing to teach them “…a little trick [he] learned in the Navy.” He taught his boys how to work with their hands, operating power tools, and maintaining their vehicles. Dan was also an appreciator of good food. When food was being prepared, he could be heard mooing, snorting, or squawking, depending on what was on the menu. During mealtimes, Dan often remarked, “Mmmm, boy!” or “It’s good and good for you!” After eating, he regularly experienced a “pizza hangover” or “sumptuous repast.”
When Dan retired, his hobbies expanded. Plans were made around NASCAR races, so that he never missed a race. He loved watching old sitcoms, game shows, Sci-Fi, football, and car auctions on TV. He enjoyed going to his grandchildren’s sporting and scouting events, as well as family dinners, BBQs, and get-togethers. Dan and Sharon took many RV road trips, but most often they went to one of their favorite places, San Diego. Dan and Sharon’s children planned a special trip for the entire family to meet up in San Diego for their 50th wedding anniversary. They even found creative ways to spend time as a family during the pandemic by video chatting (or making faces in the camera) and having dinners on the back patio, with Dan and Sharon enjoying their meals on the other side of the sliding door. Dan lived a full life, doing things he loved and spending time with those who meant the most to him. Many of Dan’s passions have been passed on to his descendants…time with family, hard work, education, creativity, boating, skiing, camping, traveling, grilling, and working under the hood of a car! The “Bright One” left a legacy for the “Bright Family,” and he created many traditions that will be carried on!
Dan is survived by his wife, Sharon, of Tucson, AZ; his children, Wendy Martin of Tucson, AZ, Chad Martin (Erin) of Kirkland, WA, and Chris Martin of Tucson, AZ; his grandchildren, Ethan, Allison, and Andrew; and his dog, Harley. He is predeceased by his granddaughter, Sanger (November 19, 2007); his brothers, David Martin (October 28, 2005) and Jeff Martin (January 18, 2018).
A private Military Funeral Honors will be held at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana, 15950 N. Luckett Rd, Marana, AZ 85653. Due to the current coronavirus situation, this service is limited attendance. Only immediate family will be able to attend. This event will be recorded, so it can be shared at a later date.
A virtual memorial is in the works for family and friends to share memories of Dan. The family hopes to have an informal celebration of Dan’s life in Arizona and Indiana when it is safe to gather together again.
The Martins are thankful for the prayers and support of family and friends. A special thank you goes out to Carol for helping with the transition to at-home care. Casa de la Luz offered tremendous care and support for Dan during his final months, which he was able to enjoy at home with his wife. Donations can be made in Dan’s name to the American Lung Association for further research and education.