SOUTH FORK—Walter Martinez, Sr., 76, of South Fork, passed away with loved ones at his bedside, on June 18, 2014, after a 15 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Walter was born to the late Frank Martinez and Ramona Lucero on Aug. 1, 1937 in Monte Vista. His parents moved the family of nine, which included six siblings of Walter, to Antonito in 1947.
Ten years later, Walter met Mickey Ruybal Martinez. Within 10 months, they fell in love and said “I do” on Nov. 9, 1959 in Antonito. From August 1960 to June 1969, they had five children.
In 1960, Martinez began mining all over Colorado, including Gilman, Leadville, Platoro, Creede and Silverton. This career lasted 30 years. In 1974, Martinez moved his family to Creede where his kids all attended and graduated high school.
South Fork would end up being home to Walter and Mickey. In 1990, they bought land and a beautiful home. Martinez enjoyed watching TV, watching his grandkids play sports, riding the tractor and lawnmower, creating beautiful pieces of wood furniture, hauling firewood, Sunday family gatherings and cruising the back roads with his grandchildren.
Ultimately, these were the things that would keep him strong and positive when diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In 1999, a great family, faith and the will to live made him the strong man he was. He is a perfect example of strength and courage.
Martinez passed away a proud man: proud of his wife for being a loving, wonderful caregiver with endless amounts of love for him and proud of his children. He raised great chidlren that went on to have amazing families of their own. Walter will be greatly missed and forever loved.
Walter is survived by his spouse Mickey Ruybal Martinez of South Fork; son Gerald (Gladys) Martinez of Billings, Mont..; daughter Cathy (Bill) Philbern of Creede; daughter Becky (James) Bartell of Paige, Ariz.; son James Martinez of Denver; brother Robert (Rosie) Martinez of Denver; brother Louie (Janette) Martinez of Denver; brother Rupert (Rita) Martinez of California; sister Alice Gurule of Antonito; Theresa (Charles) Martinez of Canon City, Colo. and was the proud papa of 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his son Walter (Trish) Martinez, Jr. of South Fork and brother Frank Martinez of Las Mesitas, Colo. A vigil service with recitation of the rosary was held on Friday, June 27 at the Holy Family Catholic Church in South Fork.
A memorial service was held Saturday at the Holy Family Catholic Church in South Fork. Inurnment followed at the Sunnyside Cemetery in Creede.
Arrangements are in care of Romero Funeral Home of Monte Vista.