Fairhaven Blog

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Meet the Staff: Jerry Martinez

Cynthia Adair - Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not only does Jerry Martinez assist people with pre-planning their funerals, but he is also an author, speaker and self proclaimed romantic.  Retired from the aerospace industry, he is now a Family Service Counselor at Fairhaven Memorial Services in Mission Viejo and Family Mortuary in Santa Ana, but this is only part of his story. 

Jerry grew up hearing the stories of his ancestors. As he passed along those stories to his children and grandchildren, he decided to write a book telling the tale of his family, which was nicknamed, “The Leeche Clan.”

His first book Leeche de Coyote is a non-fiction retelling of his family’s long ancestry from España to Coyote, New Mexico where Jerry was born. Jerry’s grandson encouraged him to document his family’s story by writing the book and when asked about his grandson’s reaction to it being published, Jerry said that he “loved it!” and “was proud to be part of the “Leeche Clan.” Jerry also shared that he wished his mother had been able to read the book, as he believes she too would be proud of the published version of the Martinez history.

His second book, A Timely Conflict is a novel based on the life of Jerry’s great grandfather Luciana Herrera. Winner of the “Latino Books into Movies” award, A Timely Conflict combines historical facts, action and adventure with the love story between Luciana and Estella. When asked who he would like to portray his grandfather in a movie version, Jerry named Emilio Estevez as a possibility; and for the lovely Estella, Jerry would like that role to go to one of his nieces.

Jerry is currently collaborating with a friend on his autobiography and is planning a third book about another of his ancestors and their life story. He has promised to let his Fairhaven family know about any upcoming book signings and I, personally, cannot wait to read a Timely Conflict as Jerry would not give away the conclusion. I really want to find out how Luciana and Estella’s love story ends!

Jerry describes himself as a quintessential New Mexican and although he now lives in Orange County, he still considers Santa Fe his home. When he is not serving from his heart at Fairhaven or writing, Jerry lectures in Hispanic Studies at Soka University. He discusses a time in history when Santa Fe was without government and without religion and shares about the timely arrival of both.

Sitting down with Jerry was an enjoyable experience; he is articulate and passionate about his ancestral history as well as his own experiences. Jerry worked as a meat cutter during college. After graduating with an accounting degree, he went on to work at TRW as a program business manager. Jerry speaks favorably of the people he has met throughout his life and the impact they have had on who he is. He is a person who does not think back on his own life with any “I should haves,” but embraces the “I dids!”

It’s easy to see that Jerry, with his love of people, outgoing nature and service-oriented attitude, would be a perfect fit for Family Mortuary’s and Fairhaven Memorial Service’s pre-planning staff. 

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