Martin Obrentz
1930 - 2014
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OBRENTZ, MARTIN, 84 Retired Teacher, Veteran and President of the Horizon Condo Assn. died Monday November 17, 2014. He is survived by his Sister Marilyn Rosenberg, Nieces Elyse Tanen, Amy(Peter) Folger, Marjorie (Steve) Tandlich and Nephew Larry (Alicia) Rosenberg. Many Great Nieces and Nephews. He was a Loving Brother, Uncle, Great Uncle and Friend to many. Funeral Services will be held 3:00pm Sunday November 23, 2014 at Riverside-Gordon Memorial Chapel/Kendall with burial at Mt. Nebo Cemetery/Kendall 5900 SW 77th Ave. Miami, FL 33143

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Published in the Miami Herald on Nov. 19, 2014.
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Memories & Condolences
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44 entries
February 23, 2021
Rest in peace Mr. Obrentz. I am so grateful you were my teacher when I was in 10th grade: you taught me how to write a decent essay, and you helped me start a career that eventually led me to receive a master's degree in Chemistry, and a life long successful career in pharma research. Rest in peace.
Romulo Romero
October 6, 2020
I just came across this new online and felt that although delayed, I just had to post condolences. Mr. Obrentz was an outstanding human being and teacher. I was one of his English students from class of 1989. I will never forget Mr. Obrentz for as long as I live. He pushed and elevated his students to be the best they could be and never accept mediocrity. Mr. Obrentz saw potential in me that at the time I hardly saw in myself. I will never forget him and will always keep a special place in my heart for him. God bless his surviving family members and friends.
Ulises Serpa
May 7, 2020
Served In Military Together
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Significant Other
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November 20, 2015
I can't believe it's already been one year. I, and our entire family, miss you so much! You literally meant the world to us. We love you Uncle Marty.
March 26, 2015
Mr. Obrentz taught English at Miami Springs Senior High. He lived to his own style and pace. He had a great sense of humor and his own brand of wit. I enjoyed being a student in his class and am blessed to have known such a man who became a role model in helping me to think out of the box and develop my own humor and wit. I have thought of you often and wished I made the effort to thank you for being a positive part of my life.
George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, field trips to the Coconut Grove Playhouse, eating at Manny's in Coral Gables afterward were special moments shared with him and his students, but I digress... Everyone should have had a mentor such as Martin Obrentz. Mr. Obrentz, thank you for being that special teacher in my life.
You will always be loved and remembered by those whose lives you have touched. G-d bless you.
Tim Copeland
March 9, 2015
Martin was the ultimate gentleman, a brilliant teacher, and an all-around nice guy. I associated with him mostly in the 80's and 90's but stayed in touch with him throughout the years until his passing. I never once failed to learn something new and compelling each time I spoke with him. I have always considered it a privilege to be Martin's friend.

John S. Sigismondi
January 22, 2015
Mr. Obrentz has been with me since I first took classes from him. He still critiques everything I write for clarity and development. He made his thinking part of my thinking, and this gift has not diminished with the passing of the years or the end of his time on earth. His life was truly a blessing to all of us.
(I had been expecting a letter from him for several months and it is my sorrow now to learn it will never come.)
December 18, 2014
Mr. Obrentz was my teacher for two years between 1970 and 1971. Back then, MSSH had LAPS and SAPS, Levels, split shifts, and soon many students would be bussed to and from our community. I had his Level 5 European Literature and Level 5 American Literature. No single individual had a greater impact on me regarding learning, the learning process, and critical thinking. In my senior year I was chosen American Legion 'Boy of the Year', and was allowed to bring a teacher as a guest to the luncheon. Though I had had several inspirational teachers in a school led by Alex Bromir, Mr. Obrentz was the most prominent and my immediate choice. When it came time for me to speak at the luncheon, I told my audience I knew I was being honored because the local Legion chapter had liked what they heard when they interviewed me and liked 'how I thought'. I introduced him as the man who had taught me 'how to think'. Let me be clear, Mr. Obrentz never taught his students what to think or from a particular viewpoint or vantage point. Instead, he taught us how to construct defensible arguments and cogent viewpoints, by employing critical thinking. He also taught us how to maximize the enjoyment and understanding of the beauty offered in philosophy, literature, and performing arts. He was a mensch! His life was a mitzvah from God. To all of us who knew him, he imparted a mitzvah each time we met.
Michael Hunter
December 12, 2014

It broke my heart to hear news of your passing. What a wonderful mentor and friend you were for many years. Since we met at Coral Park High School as teaching colleagues, your influence on my thoughts and my career have been profound. You possessed a clear sense of things: the times of our lives, our collective past and the politics of it all. Thank you for being part of my life. I regard you as family. Thank you for seeing into me and for providing so much guidance.
December 12, 2014

It broke my heart to hear news of your passing. What a wonderful mentor and friend you were for many years. Since we met at Coral Park High School as teaching colleagues, your influence on my thoughts and my career have been profound. You possessed a clear sense of things: the times of our lives, our collective past and the politics of it all. Thank you for being part of my life. I regard you as family. Thank you for seeing into me and for providing so much guidance.
December 3, 2014
I became a colleague of martins in 1970. From then on we have been friends. Martin was loved by his students and his fellow teachers. I don't believe Martin ever had any discipline problems. Besides having a brilliant mind he was a warm caring loving human being. I will not forget him. I will always miss him
Jacqueline O'Connell
November 27, 2014
Today, I give thanks for Martin Obrentz who died on November 17, 2014, at the age of 84. He was my English teacher for three years at Miami Springs Senior High School in the late 1970s. He was the only true teacher I have ever had. I am who I am because of him.
I came from a home filled with Classical music, but where literature was mostly absent. I was supposed to be a doctor, so it was all science. Mr. Obrentz changed all that the very first week of tenth grade. He introduced this Hialeah kid to an entire universe of letters and showed me how it might all be connected, not by rote or command, by diagram or syllabus, but by enthusiastically pointing up and encouraging me to connect it all together myself.
There are entire books, passages, pages, and lines from world literature that exist only in his voice. And thanks to him there are many more that exist in my own voice, from the first page of Lolita to the last page of the Great Gatsby, dozens of poems and lyrics, as well as fragments of text that surface at the oddest times.
Mr. Obrentz also taught Film Studies at Miami Springs. I was somehow allowed to take the class for two years in a row. Watching movies and talking and arguing about them are still one of my greatest pleasures. Where else could a kid from Hialeah see The Battleship Potemkin, The Seventh Seal, La Strada, the original Nosferatu, Modern Times, and dozens more? I still have the dreadful Siegfried Krakauer textbook somewhere in the house.
Learning with him always went “outside the walls.” He was the advisor of our Literary Club and took us to see art films at the Cinematheque, live theater where we could find it, concerts. The evenings sometimes ended at Chippy's, a deli on Miracle Mile.
Mr. Obrentz also pushed us to “go outside and play” intellectually. If you asked or if he thought you needed more, he would go beyond the reading list to suggest books that would challenge or books that would otherwise never appear in a high school English class.
I often tell people that teaching is my vocation. When I heard that Mr. Obrentz had died, I sat down and took a few minutes to think about him and what I learned from him. I also looked back on my own life as a teacher and I concluded that that was not true. Teaching is not my vocation. At that moment, the word took on a connotation of abnegation, a humorless dedication to duty. To be a true teacher, teaching should be your vocation, but that is not enough. You have to be willing to lead your students into new territory, you have to be daring enough to share your wonder, you have to be willing to take risks and be subversive in the service of your students, you have to live and show them the simcha of learning. Most of all, you must know when to stop and let them move along their own intellectual paths always hoping they will remember.
I know he didn't do it only for us; he did it for himself, too. As a teacher, as a 55-year old man, I do it for my students and for myself. Each year I get to experience the excitement of sharing something familiar or something new with my students understanding well that I may be reaching only a few of them. That is the nature of things, but I feel no guilt about my pleasure in Machiavelli or Stravinsky or the perfect pastelito.
In my senior yearbook he wrote: “Dear Juan, whose intellect and generous spirit reminds me that ‘libero' and ‘libertas' are the common root of ‘liberal,' affectionate good wishes for a long life of accomplishments and happiness.”
And in his memory and in gratitude I write these words. Thank you, Mr. Obrentz.
Juan Carlos Espinosa
November 25, 2014
Wanted to send my thoughts and heartfelt sympathies to my nephew-in-law Larry Rosenberg and his family. I have heard many great things about Uncle Martin and how loved he is. The world is a better place for having him in it and Heaven will be a better place for his presence there. Rest Peacefully Uncle Martin.
Mary Kish
November 24, 2014
My condolences. May you find comfort knowing that God is near you and is a refuge during this difficult time.
Psalms 9:9
November 23, 2014
I feel profoundly blessed to have been a student and then a friend of Martin Obrentz. He was a vibrant, gifted teacher and a wise, witty, compassionate human being, with whom I happily corresponded for 42 years. My life was much fuller and richer because of all he taught me - about life, as well as language and literature, and who he was. Although I miss him greatly, I have a multitude of fond memories to treasure. My deepest condolences to all his beloved family. Dona Nobis Pacem.
Kate Hood
November 23, 2014
Martin was a dedicated volunteer at Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, as the organization was known then, for many years, one of the Tuesday regulars, who could be counted on to narrate difficult works of literature and other subjects for students who could not use printed texts. With Martin, the Tuesday regulars continued to get together for bi-monthly dinners in the 5-1/2 years since the recording studio in Miami closed, and regaled us with stories and anecdotes. Listening to Martin read "Oedipus Rex" at a midnight marathon recording session years ago was an experience to make a memory of which will last forever. On behalf of The Tuesday Group, hail and farewell, Martin.
Kathleen Fisler
November 23, 2014
I count Mr. Obrentz as one of the greatest teachers I've had. He taught me for 2 years at Miami Coral Park in the 1980s ( honors & AP). Thank you, Mr. Obrentz, for inspiring my love of writing and literature. I don't think I would have completed a PH.D. without your influence! Rest in peace, wise one.
Lyndon Aguiar
November 22, 2014
Mr. Obrentz was my English teacher in 1987 and 1989. He was an excellent teacher. I got a good grasp on Classical and World literature from him. We did disagree on Science Fiction, a passion of mine. It was a honor to be his student. Thank You, Sir.
Juan Sanmiguel
November 22, 2014
We will never forget you. You touched so many lives. We celebrate your life.
Winnie Hinson
November 21, 2014
Our sincere condolences Marjorie and Steve and to all your family on your loss. Michael, Barbara and Kristin Khoury
November 21, 2014
Mr. Obrentz was my English teacher at Miami Springs Sr. High 1980-1982. He was a great inspiration and I often recall his kind and gentle manerisms when reminiscing about my high school days. Mr. Obrentz introduced me to a world of literature which I had not previously experienced but continue to indulge in to this day. He genuinely made a difference in this young man's life and I shall always be grateful to have known him and to have had him for a teacher. I thank him for his service not only to the many he taught but for his service to our country and the community. He will be sadly missed and I pray that he has found restful peace with the Lord above. God Bless you Mr. Obrentz and oh by the way don't forget to pick a few scarlet pimpernels out of Heaven's garden. lol
James Williams
November 21, 2014
It's been 38 years since I graduated from MSSH, and I can still remember everything Mr. Obrentz ever assigned for me to read. He was the epitome of what a teacher should be - caring, concerned, talented, tough. A man with a huge personality that made you feel welcome in his world. When I spend the next two days at the Miami Book Fair this weekend, I'll remember my favorite teacher and how much he's meant to my life since MSSH. My father and Martin Obrentz were the two people who made me care about the things that make me the person I am today.
David Rice
November 20, 2014
Thank-you Uncle Marty for all of your genuine love and compassion for me, my family and many others in this world. You were always there for me with your kind words and warm heart. I have never heard anyone speak negatively about you. Why would they when you were always so generous,loving and giving? Your intellect never ceased to amaze me and you were constantly helping everyone. I will miss you and love you forever!! xoxoxo Elyse
November 20, 2014
You truly left a huge mark in this world. You were always there for us no matter what. What a wonderful uncle and great uncle you were. We were so blessed to have you in our lives. You will forever be in all our hearts.
We love you so much. RIP Uncle Marty
Steve & Marjorie
November 20, 2014
Mr. Obrentz was my Honor's English teacher at Miami Springs Senior High in 1979,1980, and 1981. To this day, I cannot think of any great body of work without being reminded of his passion for literature ("compare and contrast..."). Some of my fondest memories are of the Literary Club meetings at "Castillo Corrales", "Schloss Heider", etc., and of his big smile when he'd see all of the good eats reserved for after the meeting. RIP Mr. Obrentz. I am a better person because of you.
Lourdes Babin (nee Corrales)
November 20, 2014
Martin was a great teacher and citizen of the world, who inspired so many of us to embrace the wide world of literature and have confidence in our writing. Many of remained friends with him throughout his life and even continued to receive reading assignments from him! He was a major influence in my life and I will miss very much, never forgetting his inspiring intellect and warm humanity. Condolences to his family; there was no one else like Martin...
Winnie Hinson
November 20, 2014
Mr Obrentz was one of a kind........passionate, compassionate, a gifted teacher and I'm proud to say, a friend all of these years since high school. We were in touch till the end. I remember his classes like they were yesterday and in fact they were 42 years ago. I will miss him and his letters terribly. SO very sad today.
Laurie Wolf
November 20, 2014
Martin was my mentor and long time friend. I had the privilege of being assigned as his intern at Miami Springs Senior High in the eighties. He was a wonderful friend to me over the years. He was the most gifted teacher I have ever known whose passion of literature and the art of words were given to so many students and friends throughout the years. When I started teaching with him I was going through a divorce and I still see him opening his door to me in the morning in his tweed suit, with his big smile, welcoming me into his world. He often came to my dinner parties at my home where we discussed various writers and life. He was a great friend and I hope he opens the door for me once again when I enter heaven. My heart is bleeding today. I know he touched me Monday as he passed because I remember thinking I must call him and wondered why I hadn't heard from him. He took me to lunch in June before I left Miami and I am so glad that I got to see him. He inspired me to be the best teacher, reader, and lover of words. He always encouraged me as an author. He was a part of my heart and he will be missed everyday and with each word I write, he will be with me in spirit. It was an honor to be his friend. I will miss you terribly my dear friend. You will never be forgotten. You touched so many and helped formulate many student's lives over the last fifty years that you taught. So many wonderful memories with in peace my dear mentor.
Karen Herzog
November 19, 2014
What an amazing uncle you were to all of us! You didn't have a mean bone in your body and was always genuinely happy and so very proud of all our lives. You were truly "one of a kind" Pete and I enjoyed and looked forward to your yearly visits to our home and will cherish those memories forever. You will always be in our hearts. We love you! Rest in peace Uncle Marty. Amy and Pete Folger
November 19, 2014
He was the teacher that inspired my lifelong love of literature and a warmhearted, brilliant person. He told me once that each one of my sentences was "like a jewel" and that thought was what I leaned all through all my college essays and eventually law school. My family sends the deepest, most heartfelt condolences for the loss of such a beautiful soul.
Aimee Cernicharo
November 19, 2014
Many people loved Martin, not from duty or obligation, but rather they deeply and truly loved Martin because he gave his whole self, completely, to everyone. We can all learn so much from this joyful human being who lived each and every day fully. Rest in peace.
November 19, 2014
What a terrible loss! He was a gifted teacher and a warmhearted friend. There was simply no teacher in my life to compare with him.
Susan Pierson Moore
November 19, 2014
Martin was the greatest teacher I ever had. It was my Honors English class at Miami High in 1965. His style of teaching and his wonderful story telling ability acted as a role model for me in my 33 years at Miami Dade College. I went back to see him the year after I graduated and later we would meet occasionally as colleagues at North Campus. When I won my Endowed Teaching Chair, he quickly sent his congratulations. It is quite impossible to underestimate the wonderful effect he has had on my life. Rest in piece my beloved inspiration.
Michael Tesh
November 19, 2014
I have cherished Martin's friendship for many many years - rest in peace, dear friend - Mickey Starrett Knecht
November 19, 2014
Mr. Obrentz was my Honor's English teacher at Coral Park in 1968. i have such fond memories of him.. He maintained discipline effortlessly and demanded the most of his students. Teaher like Mr. Obrentz inspired me to become a teacher.I visited him years after I had been in the classroom. He remembered me and recommended some authors he was reading. He was a scholar and a gentleman. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family. Know that he touched so many lives.
tania cruz
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