Valentino E. Martinez, Jr
June 27, 1952 - Feb. 23, 2021
Val Martinez passed away on February 23, 2021 at his home in Arizona surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife, Nancy (nee Mach); his step-sons: Chris Watson and Andy (Allison) Watson; grandchildren: Connor, Jaedyn, Jacie. He is also survived by his siblings: sister, Christy (Dave) Martinez-Andrews; sister, Monica Martinez; brother, Vince (Diane) Martinez; sister in law, Cora Martinez; uncle/aunt, Rudy and Rachel Garcia; nieces and nephews: Michele, Rene, Jerry, Kathy, Monica, Frank, Enrique, Amber, Matt, Brett, Vince, Eric, and their spouses and children. Many cousins and extended family.
Val was preceded in death by his parents: Valentino, Sr. and Carole Martinez; sister, Valerie Purevich; brother, Frank Martinez.
Val graduated from Highland High School in 1970 and served his country in the U.S. Army from 1972-1974. He graduated from Indiana University in 1977 after which he attended Princeton University in 1978 on a full scholarship. He joined the State Department in 1980 while teaching at Princeton. Val served in the Foreign Service for 20 years and received numerous awards including the State Department Superior Honor Award. He served in Central America, Belfast, Northern Ireland, the White House, Mexico City and Bosnia. After he left the Foreign Service, he returned to Highland, IN to take on the task of educating the next generation. He taught at Richard J. Daley College for a short time until a position at Purdue University Northwest became available. His 13 years at Purdue were rewarded with the successes of his students and a scholarship named in his honor. In 2014, he and Nancy moved to Arizona and Val again chose to impart his expansive knowledge of history, government and law to the students at Grand Canyon University where he worked for 7 years. Val's passion for the subjects he taught was only surpassed by the many accolades from his students and colleagues throughout the years.
Val's interests ran the gamut from reading everything he could regarding history to music to games. His love of music was evident to all who knew him, and the blues really hit home for him. He loved playing guitar either by himself or with his friends. He even played in a band with former high school friends when he returned to Highland. His musical knowledge was legendary and constantly challenged by family and friends in the form of trivia contests. He also enjoyed a good game of chess and played whenever he could. His love of games was rooted in his family from early on. There were card games, poker included, and of course, the weekly Scrabble game. He laughed at how he cheated his mom at Scrabble for date money with his girlfriend, Nancy.
To all who knew Val, he will be sorely missed. He was a kind, generous, and inspiring man. He was always willing to listen and could explain something so that anyone could understand. He led a very interesting and diverse life but was as down to earth as they come.
Donations in his name can be made to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014 or to St. Jude, www.stjude.org or a local St Jude facility.
A memorial will be scheduled for a future date and notification will be posted.