MUNISING, Mich. - Gary Howard Martell, age 74, an eleven year and one month resident of the Oscar G. Johnson Veterans Community Living Center in Iron Mountain and formerly of Marquette and Munising, died on Tuesday afternoon, May 28, 2013, in Iron Mountain.
Gary was born on September 4, 1938, in Manistique, Michigan to Howard and Lila (Beauchamp) Martell. Gary graduated from Wm. G. Mather High School in 1956. During high school, he was a standout athlete in football, basketball, and track. Gary attended college and was studying accounting before he entered in the U.S. Army on March 3, 1959 where he enjoyed boxing and never lost a fight.
Gary was serving with the 82nd Airborne when he was involved in an accident that caused him brain damage and he had to relearn how to do everything. He was honorably discharged on July 8, 1960. Gary returned home to Munising where he continued his strong and faithful Catholic faith at Sacred Heart in Munising. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. Gary was also a member of the American Legion and Moose Lodge.
On November 17, 1984, he married Esther (Latvala) Ylinen and they lived in Munising until 1998 when they moved to Marquette where he was a member at St. Christopher's. Gary then moved to the VA Community Living Center in Iron Mountain and Esther visited him there every opportunity that she was able. Esther preceded Gary in death on March 30, 2009.
As he was in Munising and Marquette prior, Gary was the life of the party with his happiness, love, laughter, and sense of humor. He was embraced by the staff who extended fabulous care to him and truly became his friends. There was so much love and compassion in his daily life and care in Iron Mountain. Gary spent his time at the nursing home as if he were living in a retirement village. He loved to socialize, attended every social activity that took place, and he was very popular. He especially enjoyed movie night where he would get his popcorn, listening to and singing along with any type of music, playing bingo and cards - especially "his" game cribbage, and he always enjoyed his snacks. Gary always had one-liners and never lost his happy being. He was "finer than frog's hair."
He is survived by his children, Heather (Dale) Hemmila and Gary (Jackie) Martell Jr.; three stepchildren; twelve grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; one brother, Ronald Martell; two half-brothers; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held at the Bowerman Funeral Home in Munising on Saturday, June 15, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. with Deacon Tom Moseley officiating. Visiting time with family and friends will be from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Interment will be at the Mathias Township Cemetery in Trenary where the American Legion and Vietnam Veteran Honor Guards will conduct military honors.
Gary's obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at bowermanfuneralhome.net.