We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Silver Creek Mortuary
Obituary for Kenneth Rae Martin
Kenneth Rae Martin was born August 26, 1933 in Prescott, AZ to Henry & Viola (Haymore) Martin and died at home on July 16, 2022. He was raised in Mesa, AZ with his brothers, Wayne and Charles, and his sister, Elaine. Ken learned to work hard and play hard in his youth. His love for playing the drums helped him become the Drum Major at Mesa High School his Junior and Senior years—one of his favorite memories. When he was 15 years old, he saw a pretty brunette playing the piano at church one night. He was smitten with JoAnn Freestone and began a love affair that would last over 70 years, and still continues. Ken married JoAnn on Sept. 6, 1952 in the Mesa Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where they were sealed for eternity. They immediately left for BYU where Ken studied agricultural engineering and played drums in dance bands on the weekends. They loved their year at BYU and spoke often of their friendships and fun they had there. They then returned to Mesa where Ken & JoAnn happily welcomed six children into their home, and Ken loved his role of father. He and his dad, Henry, started Martin Hay Specialists, where they cut and bailed hay for many farmers across Maricopa County. That morphed into a job with Massey Ferguson tractor company as a test engineer. In the mid-1960s, he found a promising franchise opportunity for Farm Builder BioChem and with the help of his Dad bought the franchise for the state of Arizona. In 1969 they sold the BioChem and Hay business and went to work for the new owners and moved his family to Bakersfield, CA where he used his knowledge of enriching soil with probiotics to strengthen plants and increase plant health and production. In 1972, tragedy struck when Ken & JoAnn’s 13-year old daughter, Jolinda, died suddenly from an acute illness. They picked up the pieces and moved to Modesto, CA where he became a realtor and began selling custom homes. In 1975, Ken and JoAnn decided to move with their two youngest children to Monett, Missouri, where Ken loved having acreage and he enjoyed all things farming. He continued selling real estate in Missouri until he decided to try something new. He purchased a franchise of Barter Systems International in Springfield, MO and began teaching and helping people to trade for items they needed. During the next several years Ken worked as a realtor in Plano, TX, and Garden Grove, CA. He then went back to his love of all things soil, and moved to Mesa to work for another biochemical company. In 1996, Ken & JoAnn moved to their (finally) forever home in Taylor, AZ. He spent many hours sprucing up their new property and house. He restarted, Martin BioChem, and developed a recipe for a probiotic boost for the soil.
Ken was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints , and often shared his convictions and testimony with others. He served in many leadership positions; Elder’s Quorum President, Bishop, Stake President, as well as many teaching responsibilities. His favorite calling was Scoutmaster, where he served in many different wards. He often told stories of his scouts and the comical things they did as inexperienced campers. His life is an example of service and love, especially to his family.
Ken loved to laugh and he would often cough and wheeze when something really tickled his funny bone. He loved to tell jokes, and all his children developed a love for jokes and puns. He thoroughly enjoyed Spike Jones’ music and would often gather his children to help him lip sync to many of the classics. Ken was truly a gentle man and his resolute attitude and unfailing faith blessed the lives of all who knew him. He loved his family intensely and enjoyed spending time with them. His grandkids were the apple of his eye, and many fun times were spent at “papa and grandma’s house” where all kids learned how to play card games with Rook cards as soon as they were able, always followed by JoAnn’s strawberry shakes. Anyone around him learned to work hard and contribute to society. He loved tacos and root beer floats and would always request them whenever asked. He will be missed by all who knew him, especially his posterity.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Jolinda, his brother, Wayne, and his sister Elaine, and his sweetheart JoAnn who died 11 months ago. He is survived by his brother Charles (Mesa), his children, Ken (Mary) of Taylor, Kyle (Migali) of Green Valley, Laura (Mario) Thompson of Blue Springs, MO, Derek (Sheri) of Carthage, MO, and Cari (Ron) Byrd of Snowflake. He leaves behind 25 grandchildren, 61 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Ken’s funeral will be Saturday, July 30th at 10:00 a.m. at the Lovelake Chapel in Taylor, AZ. A viewing will be held at Silver Creek Mortuary on Friday, July 29th from 5:00-7:00 p.m.