Karl Eric Martin

Karl Martin
Karl Martin

Karl Eric Martin passed away on September 8, 2015. Karl was born on November 7, 1943 in Ontario, Oregon as the second son to Carl E. and Helen (Scott) Martin. His father was serving as a Naval Flight Instructor during WWII. They returned to Seattle in the mid-1940s, and two more brothers and a sister arrived to round out the family.

Karl had an enjoyable childhood of Cub and Boy Scouts, Pee Wee football, Elvis Presley, fireworks, super-fast-tall-hill sledding, and Christmas-house-decorating showmanship. His design and decoration of the Martin family home was one that the people of Seattle would put on their “must see” list during the Christmas holidays. He especially enjoyed summer camp at YMCA Camp Orkila on Orcas Island; a tradition that he passed on to his own children. As a youth, one of his favorite hobbies was building and flying model airplanes (a forerunner of today’s drones?). Early on, it was apparent that Karl had a knack for problem-solving and working on anything mechanical, especially cars.

Karl graduated from Seattle’s Lincoln High School in 1962, where he made the junior varsity basketball and the varsity football teams. He was also active in Lynx Club (a service organization), the German Club, and was honored to be part of the Letterman’s Club.

After high school, he went to Western Washington State College (now Western Washington University) in Bellingham, graduating in 1969 with a degree in Political Science, and a minor in Anthropology. Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart, Carol Perry. Two sons, David, born 1965, and Tod, born 1966, arrived before college graduation, which might explain why it took Karl a few years longer than most to get his degree, as he had a family to support as well. After graduation the family moved to Kirkland, Wash., while Karl managed a Standard Oil Service Station in Seattle.

In 1971, Karl purchased the Standard Oil Station (Chevron) in Oroville, Wash. and moved his family to the area that they will always call HOME, especially Karl. After they were settled, Karl and Carol expanded their family to include Craig in 1972, and Polly in 1974. “Karl’s Chevron” was known to everyone in town through the 70’s. Unfortunately, the rationing of gas came with the 1976 oil crisis, and Karl had to give up his station and move on to other endeavors in order to support his family. Wanting to remain in Oroville, Karl built the Little Oasis Car Wash, and worked in a number of jobs including: the local lumber mills, and Seattle’s Todd Shipyard, becoming a certified welder and Boilermaker, working on several of the large irrigation pipeline projects in the Oroville-Tonasket area.

In 1985, Karl moved back to the “wet” side of the mountains, returning to Bellingham to pursue a Master’s Degree in Anthropology with a goal of teaching at the college level. Working part-time, studying full-time, that Masters degree was finally completed in 1993, but a teaching job was elusive. Karl then changed direction and applied himself to earning an Information Technology Certification at Skagit Valley Community College in Mt. Vernon, Wash.

With this certificate, Karl joined Milestone Information Systems in Bellingham for about nine years. In 2003, unfulfilled by the accounting focus of this firm, Karl looked for yet another change, and landed a position with Clallam County in Port Angeles, with their Information Technology Department. He began this job in July 2003, and remained there until his retirement in 2010. He thoroughly enjoyed the problem solving and customer service aspects of this position.

The spectrum of Karl’s hobbies and interest were wide and deep. He enjoyed hunting for many years, supplying food for his family. He was most proud of his moose, and until recently, that huge moose head could be seen on display at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles. Karl was renowned for his diligent work ethic. He didn’t know any other way but to apply himself full bore to the job at hand, be it at work or getting firewood for his family. Giving 150 percent was all he knew how to do. Karl’s interest in music was wide-ranging, from Bob Seger to Elvis Presley to Bonnie Raitt to Charlotte Church and everything in-between. There must be at least a hundred, different and unique, Karl-crafted CD’s made for his loved ones. He also loved photography, kayaking, and riding his mountain bike in the hills around Port Angeles.

Karl’s real passion in life was science, from Anthropology to Astronomy to Chemistry and Biology. In the last few years he filled most days in pursuit of higher knowledge.

Karl was very proud of the life and successes of his children. He is survived by sons Dave Martin of Chelan, and wife Rachel, Tod Martin, of Richmond, England, and wife Alvia; Craig Martin, Chandler Ariz.; Polly Martin-Kasch, of Vancouver, and husband Brandon; brothers; Joel Martin and wife Lori Jenkins of Salem, Ore.; Scott (Holly) Martin of Freeland, Wash.; Brian Martin, of Seattle, Wash.; and sister, Linnea Martin of Port Angeles, Wash.; grandchildren Carolyn and Abby, Chelan, Wash.; Brooke and Colton, Chandler, Ariz; Breya and Bianca of Vancouver, Wash.; special decades-long friend, Davell Seversen of Suquamish, Wash., as well a large extended family of aunts and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Helen Martin, and granddaughter Stephanie Wilhelmi of Chelan.

A memorial in Oroville will be planned for a later date, and announced by his family in advance.