Florentino "Tino" T. Martinez, 95, of Wilmington, CA, died July 8, 2020 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born March 14, 1925 in Wilmington, CA, the fourth of nine children born to Dionicio Vasquez Martinez and Maria Abundis Toscano Martinez. Tino attended Phineas Banning High School until he joined military service at age 18. He served as a staff Sgt. of K Company, 385th Division, 76th Infantry in the United States Army during World War II. Tino participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal as recognition of his heroic achievement during combat. Subsequently, Tino served in the U.S Navy during the Korean War and served on the USS Chemung AO as a M.E.2. With that experience, Tino went into the Merchant Marines and sailed all over the world on tanker ships as a Chief Pumpman for 23 years. He then worked in the Los Angeles Harbor on the barges for PacTow as a Chief Tankerman and retired in 1992. Tino was married to the love of his life, Maria de Jesus Hernandez, on July 6, 1960 in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico and brought his bride home to live in Wilmington for the next 50 years before moving to Long Beach, CA for the last 10 years. Together they raised five children. A longtime resident of Wilmington, Tino was a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Family Catholic Church for many years and helped the Carmelite nuns as a handyman in the convent and at Holy Family Grammar School where his children attended. He was also part of the Sunshine Club, Senior VFW Club and Latino Club at Banning Park. Tino was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2967 in Wilmington and proudly served as part of the Honor Guard. Tino loved spending time with his family, watching football with his daughters and grandchildren, traveling the world, watching war documentaries, flying model planes with his son, doing projects with his grandchildren and passionately loved dancing with his wife, whom he affectionately called his "candy and kisses." Throughout the years, they won many dance contests and people admired how well they danced together. Tino and Maria went dancing nearly every Sunday well into his nineties. Tino is preceded in death by his brothers, Manuelito, Paul, Manuel and his sister, Andrea. He is survived by his wife Maria, and children Monica (James), Steve (Cindy), Lisa (Jes£s), Christina (Eric), Veronica (Sherif). Also surviving him are his 21 grandchildren: Eileen (David), Jimmy (Valeria), Andrew, Nicholas (Lila), Anthony, Amanda, Maureen (Chad), Jessica, Katelyn (Christian), John, Marissa (Christian), Jacob, Lucas, Alexander, Joseph, Adam, Leila, Sherif, Samir, Ramsis and Nadeen, as well as 8 great-grandchildren; Dexter, Nicholas, Isabella, Evelyn, Fiona, Roya, Tobin and Aubrey. Also surviving him are his brothers; Fred (Lupe), Joe (Raquel), Charlie (MaryLu), his sister, Elvira, and many nieces and nephews. Tino lived every day with a grateful, joyful heart. He constructed an amazing life and family that looked to him as the foundational rock on which their successes were built. He had a way of listening to you, asking questions that made you feel like you were the most special person in the world. Two days before his death, he renewed his vows with Maria and celebrated 60 years of a marriage that was filled with love and admiration until the end--holding hands, dancing, taking care of one other. His model for how to love his wife, how to care for his children, how to play and listen to his grandchildren guide the generations to follow. Tino will be deeply missed and forever in our hearts. We are heartbroken yet grateful he's now joined "the Man Upstairs." Our sorrow is eclipsed only by reflecting with wonder on the magnificent life Tino lived with strength, courage, and enduring love. In lieu of flowers we ask that you donate to the Disabled American Veterans Organization or Operation Smile in Tino's name.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Jul. 18, 2020.