Strong–willed, determined, and hardworking, Frederick "Fritz" Martin was a genuine person through and through. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather who enjoyed his time with this family immensely. Fritz lived his life to the fullest by remaining active in his community and serving others. Always one to have a positive outlook on life, he will be deeply missed and his wonderful collections of memories will be forever etched in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.
The 1940’s were characterized by WWII. Much of this decade was a battle for a way of life that the country and western powers had spent two centuries building. By 1948, the first prefab homes were being built to solve the growing need of the baby boomers and they were cheap enough for people to afford. Televisions were appearing in more and more homes, NASCAR held its first race in Daytona, and the musical South Pacific opened on Broadway. That same year, Frederick was born to Paul F. and Colleen M. (Schipper) Martin on August 14th, in Noble County, Indiana. His birth brought his parents great joy.
A lifetime member of Whitley County, Fritz lived a typical childhood. He and his three siblings had their dose of sibling rivalry. He favored picking on his sister, Becky, however, who he once tied up at the tennis court and left her there! Ambitious and somewhat of a perfectionist, he graduated with the Class of 1966 from Columbia City Joint High School. Fritz was born with an innate set of skills for serving others. During the nation’s turmoil in Vietnam, he proudly served with the United States Navy from 1968-1974. After he was discharged, he met the woman who would change the course of his life forever, Jacqueline S. DeKoninck! With no time to waste, the jubilant couple joined in marriage at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church on May 31, 1975. Together they raised two wonderful sons, Sean and Chad. As a father, Fritz was even keeled and his family always knew he loved them in his own quiet way and they knew from his actions that he always had their backs. His pride and joy, there simply wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for them. As a family, Fritz cherished their years of traveling together. He loved to take the boys camping and they toured many beautiful areas of the United States. One place that captured his heart over the years was Michigan’s Mackinac Island. As the boys matured and started families of their own, he was very proud of their careers and accomplishments. Much to his heart’s delight, he felt truly blessed when he became a grandfather!
A steadfast provider for his growing family, Fritz started out working for his parents and later co-owned with his brother, Culligan Water Conditioning in Columbia City for a remarkable thirty years. With a strong interest in giving back to the community he loved, he as an EMT with twenty-eight years of service with the Whitley County EMS. Fritz also worked with Parkview Whitley Hospital as a registrar and E.D. Clerk since the year 2000. Volunteering was also a passion of his and he gave more than thirty years of service with the Columbia City Volunteer Fire Department and was honored in 2004 with lifetime status! Being a pilot, however, was his true obsession. He loved being a apart of the Young Eagles Program and even had an opportunity before he became seriously ill to take a young girl up to show her what flying was all about, so it was no surprise that he was also a lifetime member of EAA, Experimental Aircraft Association and the VAA, Vintage Aircraft Association. Annually he looked forward to attending and volunteering at the Oshkosh AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Active his whole life, Fritz lived his life to the fullest. Always one to dabble in different interests, he served as President of both the Columbia City Rotary Club and the Columbia City Old Settlers Day back in 2008. Retirement gave him the much needed time to attend to his trains. He had quite an extensive collection of tracks and trains that literally ran through the walls in his basement! Nothing gave him more satisfaction than spending hours designing the scenes to look realistic including cutting holes into the walls so they could tunnel from room to room. He and a group of other train hobbyists even started their very own train collecting group! He and Jackie also spent their later years traveling together. He was thrilled to attend the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico and also loved to gamble in Las Vegas! A Navy veteran, he also appreciated watching documentaries on WWII as well as episodes on the History Channel.
Described as quiet at times, yet a fighter as he battled bladder cancer for nearly seventeen years never letting his illness define him. Fritz leaves behind a rich legacy of living life with passion, building lasting relationships, and creating the best of memories. May he rest in peace and his family be forever grateful for all the love he gave over their treasured years together.
Frederick "Fritz" A. Martin, age 68, of Columbia City, Indiana passed away at 5:10 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017, at his home. Survivors include his loving wife of 42 years, Jackie Martin; sons, Sean (Christa) Martin, of Columbia City and Chad (Carrie) Martin of Fort Wayne; sisters, Becky (Larry) Walter of Columbia City and Sara (Paul) Gasiorowski of Greenwood; and brother, Bryan Martin, of Columbia City and three grandchildren, Liam, Elise, and Gabby Martin. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandson, Cameron Martin. Visitation is 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, 2017, and from 9-10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 20, 2017, both at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral service at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home with Sharon Brockhaus, Certified Funeral Celebrant, officiating. Burial to follow at Greenhill Cemetery with graveside military rites provided by the Whitley County Korean War Veteran’s Honor Guard. Memorials may be given in memory of Fritz to the VAA Chapter 37, designated to “Young Eagles Fund” 1521 East MacGregor Drive, New Haven, IN 46774 or the Whitley County Community Foundation. Please visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send the family condolences online.
In concluding Fritz's life story above, his family feels the following words summarizes their and Fritz's belief system: Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what's to be, a resting place along the road to sweet eternity. We all have different journeys, different paths along the way, we all are meant to learn some things, but never meant to stay...our destination is a place far greater than we know. For some, the journey's slow. And when the journey finally ends, we'll claim a great reward and find an everlasting peace, together with the Lord!