Wilbert L. Martin|
Resident of Castro Valley
Will was born in Hayward CA on August 17, 1922, the son of a Hayward pioneer and business man Anthony J. Martin and Louisa Coehlo. He attended Bret Harte school graduated from Hayward High School in 1941. He worked at the Mare Island ship yards in 1940, as an apprentice riveter. When the ship yard advertised job openings for journeymen at their yard in Oahu, Hawaii, Will applied, although he was not a journeyman. Too few journeymen applied, so Will was off to Hawaii in 1941. He worked by day as a boilermaker and after work, spent the rest of the day surfing and enjoying the beaches of Waikiki as a member of the Outrigger Canoe Club.
The events of December 7th, 1941, changed the course of Will's life. He wanted to enlist but was needed to help with recovery after the attack. Because of his swimming skills, he was assigned to recover victims in the harbor. During the next months he continued working at the ship yard. Although his supervisors urged him to stay on at the shipyard, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps on November 22, 1943. He was wounded in 1944. Once healed, he saw action until the end of the war.
Upon his return home, he met and married local girl Deana Motos. They built their home together in the rural open area of Castro Valley. A few years later they welcomed their first son, Steven, and son David and daughter Karen joined the family a few years later.
During this time Will was active in youth activities in the Boy Scouts, (Award winning Troop 3 in Fairview) the Independent 4H club, St. Alphonsus and Our Lady of Grace parishes, the Castro Valley Horseman's Assn., where he served as president, and was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus.
The family enjoyed many trips to all of the State and National Parks of California, Oregon and Nevada. But the most visited, by far, was Seacliff State beach. The Martins spent many holidays at that beachfront park, winter and summer, and have many great memories of their visits there.
Will worked as an ironworker and special inspector for structural steel for 50 years. He started work at the shipyards, continued at Herrick Iron Works of Hayward, Hales Testing labs, and retired from TEI Test labs in 1998. Will worked on several well-known structures, including the Oakland Coliseum and the Coliseum Arena, Chabot College and the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. Steven and David visited him on this job several times during the construction.
In his retirement, Will enjoyed riding and roping at Joe Silva's roping arena in Cull Canyon and could be seen on horseback, parking cars with Joe at the annual at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo. Another activity he enjoyed with a group of friends was trap shooting at the local range at Lake Chabot. He enjoyed meeting the guys, swapping stories, and then testing their skill, going for a straight shoot of 25 hits in a row. A great day usually ended at the Dell Cafe to continue the conversations and stories.
As age slowed his outdoor activities, he enjoyed visits from his children and grandchildren and lunches with friends and coworkers.
Wilbert passed away on December 6th and is survived by his wife Deana, sons Steven and David, daughter Karen, grandchildren Steven-Richard Martin and Zackary McBeth.
Please join family and friends for a memorial service at All Saints Church in Hayward on Friday, Dec. 20th at 10:30 AM to be followed by refreshments and swapping stories at the Senior Center adjacent to the church.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wounded Warriors Project, PO Box 758517 Topeka Kansas 66675, www.supportwoundedwarrior.org.
Published in Inside Bay Area on Dec. 17, 2013