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Martin Spellman


1933 - 2020
Martin Spellman Obituary
Martin Spellman M.D.

Jan. 17, 1933 - Feb. 10, 2020

Martin Adelbert Spellman, a radiologist, watercolor painter, Rotarian and world traveler, died February 10 in Fremont. Marty was born Jan. 17, 1933 to Martin Charles Spellman and Kathleen Carmelle Dolan in San Francisco. He grew up in the Sunset district and graduated from Lowell High School in 1950. He graduated from Stanford University in 1954 and Stanford Medical School in 1957. He worked as a radiologist at Washington Hospital in Fremont for over 30 years.

Marty met his future wife Sherril Steinman while working as a bartender at Sunnyside resort in Lake Tahoe, charming her while she was on a date with someone else. They married in 1956 and moved the next year to Bremerhaven, Germany, where Marty was an army captain and doctor for four years. In Germany, the two made an uncharacteristic splurge on a Porsche convertible, which took them on camping trips to Norway, an adventure in Gibraltar and everywhere in between. He drove that car for the rest of his life.
Life back in the U.S. in the 1960s was full of family and work and garden projects at the 1892 Victorian farmhouse the family settled in, which was the scene of volleyball parties and, later, a family wedding. His children remember sneaking the family's puppies into the hospital for Xrays after they swallowed sewing pins. Marty was known for being very fair and that set high expectations. One weekend morning, his children marched around the breakfast table with picket signs protesting the lawn mowing rate. Marty and Sherrill traveled the world with their family to adventurous destinations, visiting China, Russia and Nepal before tourism was common there. Marty took painting trips to France, Spain and Mexico. But he was expert at house painting, too, a skill each of his children appreciated.

Marty taught at Stanford Medical School in the 1980s and took trips to Ghana, Cuba, The Azores and Panama to help train local doctors. Marty was an active Rotarian in Fremont.

Marty always advised grabbing every opportunity for an adventure. His oft-repeated motto was "Live it up or give it up."

Longtime opera and ballet fans, Marty and Sherril were open to all kinds of entertainment, and once stumbled upon the Folsom Street Fair on the way to the opera and enjoyed a beer among the leather-clad celebrants. After retirement, he became a fixture in downtown Niles, attending Fremont Art Association painting classes, having breakfast at the Nile Café, visiting Joe's Corner, Niles ice cream shop and Federico's for crab cakes. He was a regular at the Olive Hyde art openings and attended a men's book group and an Irish book club in San Francisco.

Marty was predeceased by his wife Sherril Spellman. He is survived by brother Michael Spellman and his wife Berdell, his daughter Shannon Spellman and her husband Joel Cantor, his son Patrick Spellman and wife Wendy, and son Peter Spellman and his partner Anthony Spivey. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jake, Dylan, Elliot and Cooper Cantor and Bowen and Jack Spellman. A celebration of Marty's life is planned for August 1, 2020.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 16, 2020
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