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John “Jack” Albert Martin of Westphalia, MI passed away with family at his side on Monday, June 5th at the age of 82. Jack was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Westphalia his entire life. He was born the 8th child to the late John M. and Alvina Martin on April 1st, 1941 in Portland, MI.
Jack attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Westphalia. Soon after he worked on the family farm beside his father and brother. In 1959 he enlisted in the National Guards, although nervous about leaving home, he forged some fond memories while stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey, California. While watching the local California farmers at work near Fort Ord, he knew he wanted to return home and build a farming legacy of his own. After returning to Westphalia, he married his neighborhood sweetheart, Marie (Schneider), on May 30, 1964. They enjoyed 53 years of marriage, before her passing in 2017. Together, Marie and Jack watched their family grow to 6 children, 28 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, and one on the way. Jack and Marie built their dairy farm operation on the homestead that Jack was born on. He took great pride in a hard day’s work and was never afraid to put forth the effort to accomplish what needed to be done. Jack was a great caretaker of his animals and his land. He knew what was important to him and that was faith, family, and farming.
Throughout his life Jack was a devoted Catholic, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He had special relationships with many nieces and nephews, and the good times they shared have created strong ties over the years. Neighbors were also an important part of Jack’s life and he always made time to acknowledge and visit them and anyone who would be in his driveway at the farm. He had an awesome sense of humor, complementing his energetic smile. People were drawn to him because of his kind, friendly, easy-going personality. He was easy to talk to, and a great listener, who cared about other’s needs. Jack was always ready to offer a drink of his home-made apple cider to start many of visits!
Jack had a special interest in history. He was an incredible book of knowledge on Westphalia history and genealogy. World War II history, and stories, were always of special interest to him. He watched the farming world progress throughout his career and told special stories of “what they did in the old days.”
Jack accepted his earthly struggles with courage, and all who knew him, now find comfort that he peacefully left his fields on earth, to tend the fields of heaven.
The family, and our Dad, say Thank You to everyone who helped in the past years with his care; Mary Free Bed at Sparrow, the great people at The Willows of East Lansing. We thank those that cared for him in his home and all the visitors that came to see him along the way. We could not have traveled this journey alone, and we appreciate each of you!
John is survived by his children Dave of Pewamo, Shelley (Chris) Wells of St Johns, Dan (Julie) of Westphalia, John L. (Tammy) of Westphalia, Dianne (Tom) Cook of Pewamo, and Bill (Dawn) Martin of Pewamo; his grandchildren and great grandchildren; his sisters Alice (Jim) Becker of Fowler, MI, Catherine (Clair) Thelen of Westphalia. Brother-in-law Ed (Monica) Schneider of Dewitt, MI. Sister-in-laws, Adeline Martin of Westphalia, Agnes Schneider of Carson City, MI and Helen Schneider of Westphalia; brother-in-law Robert Nurenberg of St. Johns, MI, and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife Marie, daughter Mary Martin; his parents; brothers Robert, Cliff, and Dale, sisters; Genevieve Simon, Pauline Goerge, and Eileen Schafer.
A Mass of Christian Burial in honor of John will be held on Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m., with Rev. Eric Weber as Celebrant. Rite of Committal will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. on Thursday and 2-8 p.m. on Friday at the St. Mary's Funeral Chapel, 210 N. Westphalia St. The rosaries will be prayed at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and 1:30 p.m., Friday. A Scriptural Wake Service at 7 p.m., Friday. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes. Online condolences may be made at www.lehmanfuneralhomes.com.