My father-in-law, Donald L. Martz, passed away this week. It wasn’t an unexpected death, as he has been fighting a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. It has been a slow and painful battle, but he is finally at peace and will no longer suffer the slow and debilitating affects of this disease. He was a strong man and his strength was reflected in his effort to fight to the very end.
Don was a very unique man. He was proud of his family, proud of his deep roots in the history of the Shenandoah Valley and proud of his service to his nation, both in uniform and in civilian service.
Knowing him for over 30 years, I never felt like I ever really “knew” him. He was guarded in his personal interactions, yet always quick to lend a hand to those that needed it. He was very proud of his success on the golf course, yet never bragged about his minor league baseball career in Scranton.
In his earlier years, he was quite the dancer and landed a spot in local competitions. He worked full time as a USDA poultry inspector, yet found time to manage his family farm and serve on the board of the local bank and golf course. He wasn’t home much, but he was always contributing to the community he loved. His smile was infectious, his chuckle ever present and his impact was felt by everyone who knew him.
Don loved his family. Some of my best memories are reflected in these photos. He made sure to expose his granddaughters to the simpler things in life. The taste of a plum freshly picked from the tree, the wet nose of his horse “Whisky” and the gardens that provided the sweetest tomato you ever tasted. Don wasn’t necessarily a renaissance man, but he loved the valley, his family, his farm and his country. His granddaughters will forever carry those blessings with them.
God bless you Don Martz. The world will miss you. Your legacy will continue to live on in your children and grandchildren for many years to come. You made the world a better place. You will not be forgotten.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5