LaMar Martin, 60

LaMar “Opie” George Martin, 60, of St. Joseph and formerly of Three Rivers, died Aug. 20, 2010 after an extended illness.

Cremation has taken place and services will not be held at this time. Dey-Florin Chapel of Florin Funeral Service in St. Joseph has been entrusted with the arrangements. LaMar did not want a funeral; he enjoyed his life and wanted to be remembered for the laughs and fun times he shared with so many. There will be a new shelter built for the Llamas and Alpacas in his memory at the Scidmore Park Petting Zoo. A dedication ceremony will be announced at a later date. Memorials made in LaMar’s memory may be made to www.rescueanimalsnow.org or Scidmore Park Petting Zoo. Memories, photos, and condolences may be left for the family at www.florin.net.

LaMar was the “Three Rivers New Year’s baby of 1950” born to Ernie and Irene Martin. He graduated TRHS Class of “1969”and then he enlisted in the U.S.M.C. After he got out of the service he continued his education at Glen Oaks Community College, during which time he worked for Owens-Illinois as a mechanical technician for the next 33 years until his retirement in 2005 when he moved to St. Joseph. He was well known for his politeness, quick wit, and his abundance of integrity. He never passed by a person that needed help. LaMar worked hard and played even harder; he traveled extensively, attended too many rock concerts to count and loved any kind of adventure. In 1981 he rebuilt an old cabin cruiser with his first mates, Bill Hill and the late Larry Tilbury, and put it in the Ohio River and took it down the Mississippi River and back. He enjoyed museums, nature reserves, golfing, hunting, boating and fishing, Animal Planet and Steely Dan. LaMar was seen most mornings walking along the beach collecting stones to polish, fossils, driftwood, and any other kind of beach glass. He has found many pieces of jewelry and returned them to the owners at his own expense. LaMar was an expert gardener who put rabbit food out every night to keep the “wascally wabbits” out of his gardens. He also fed the birds, squirrels, deer, raccoons and even opossums that all frequented the yard. When he could no longer walk the beach he would coax “his” seagulls to come eat from his hand. LaMar was small in stature, but a giant in character.

Suzanne would like to thank the many doctors, nurses, and all of the staff at Lakeland Hospital and Lakeland Hospice. Also to Dr. Christopher Strayhorn and all of the volunteers for the home visits, and especially Lakeland Specialty Hospital staff for the compassion and care. Special thanks to LaMar’s friends, and Suzanne’s family especially her grandchildren for the visits that made him so happy and friends and neighbors, for prayers, love, and support. A very special thank you goes to LaMar’s childhood friend, Steven Kipker, for the numerous visits to our home and the hospital, and the daily phone calls to LaMar.

LaMar is survived and sadly missed by his girlfriend, Suzanne Battishill of St. Joseph; his daughter, Marie (Tim) Charone of Ann Arbor; his son, James Buehlman of Lakeland, Fla.; his sister, Delores (Robert) Stump of Three Rivers; and by his four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his brother Howard Martin.

“If tears could build a stairway and love could guide my way, I’d walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again.” From Suzanne. He will be missed by anyone whose life he had touched.

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