Martin, Steven Charles 07/17/1962 ~ 02/18/2015 SAN DIEGO -- Born and raised in San Diego, Steve took a high school graduation gift and bought a ticket to Manila. He fell in love with the Philippines, transfixed by its complicated, welcoming culture and people. Although he quickly returned home, his passion for the Philippines remained. Thinking that the best way to get back to the Philippines was to join the Navy, Steve entered the service, and served as a submariner, sailing the Pacific at the height of the Cold War. Eventually moving to Chiang Mai, Thailand, Steve mastered Thai and opened a school, teaching Spanish and English. Steve parlayed his gift for storytelling and delight in unearthing obscure cultural and historical details into a career as a writer. He wrote travel guides to destinations throughout Southeast Asia and worked as a journalist, writing for the AP, AFP, and Time's Asia edition. An ardent collector with an eye for finding rarities in the rough, Steve gathered one of the world's largest collections of antique opium-smoking paraphernalia, which he donated to the University of Idaho. He wrote a book on the subject as well as a memoir, Opium Fiend, and his expertise landed him consulting work for museums, television and films, including the HBO drama Boardwalk Empire. Steve pursued life with passion, humor and a sense of integrity that left his friends grateful that he chose them. Steve, who was battling cancer, left this world with dignity and grace, surrounded by friends who loved him. His final resting place is Miramar National Cemetery. Condolences: [email protected]
Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Mar. 4, 2015.