LAFAYETTE - A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette for John Paul Martin, 81, who died Wednesday, May 8, 2013 of natural causes. Rev. Fr. Michael Russo, Pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, will officiate.
Visitation will be observed at Fountain Memorial Funeral Home in Lafayette on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. until time of services. A rosary will be recited by Deacon Tim Maragos at 10:00 a.m., with inurnment at Fountain Memorial following the mass.
Born in St. Martinville to James Joseph Martin and May Marie Fournet Martin, John grew up on the Bayou Teche, where he developed a lifelong love of hunting and the outdoors. He graduated high school from St. Peter’s College in New Iberia in 1951.
John joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in1951 and underwent training in San Diego. He attended Louisiana State University to study engineering, but was called to active duty in 1952. He first served on the PCER-849 (later named the U.S.S. Somersworth) out of New London, Connecticut, then on the U.S.S. Chukawan out of Norfolk, Virginia. John used his shore leave to explore the great cities of the East Coast, riding the train to Washington, D.C., New York, and destinations in between.
After his Navy service, he traveled to Paris to improve his French language skills. Back in Louisiana, he earned his private pilot’s license and his instrument rating. He loved to fly, especially with a friend or family member as a passenger. He also built model airplanes, a hobby he shared with his sons.
In 1958, he married Elaine Barron of Bunkie, Louisiana. The two regularly attended Our Lady of Fatima Church throughout their married lives. A jovial father and grandfather to four children and seven grandchildren, John loved spending time with family and friends, swapping stories and sharing laughs.
A true outdoorsman, John always felt at home in the woods and swamps. Each fall found him hunting squirrels with his dogs. He designed and built his own pirogues. Hunters and sportsmen often offered to purchase his boats, but he never accepted. Each one was a unique creation and a labor of love—some built especially with a particular person in mind. In later years, John kept fit with vigorous walks through his neighborhood, always stopping to chat with the folks he met. Everyone knew “Mr. Johnny.”
The last years of his life were spent attending events in the lives of his children and grandchildren. Whenever he visited, he put his handyman skills to work, repairing and fixing what he could—anything to help out his “kids.” He enjoyed meetings of the Opelousas “French Club,” a group of friends who get together for dinner, spirits, and occasionally conversations in French. John maintained a boyish energy and youthful spirit into his 80s. As someone who knew him well said, “His vocation was to be a friend.”
Mr. Martin is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Elaine Barron; his sisters, Roberta Marie Martin Olivier and Mildred Marie Louise Martin Billeaud (Manning); his sister-in-law, Carmel N. Barron; his daughter, Monique Martin Baumrucker; his sons, Maurice (Tracey), Marcel (Sophia), and Mitchell; grandchildren, Marie Baumrucker, Claire Baumrucker, Yvonne Baumrucker, Camille Baumrucker, Lauren Martin, Adam Martin, and Annemarie Martin; and numerous dear nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James J. Martin and May Fournet Martin; sister, Anna May Martin Thomas; brother, James Martin Jr.; brothers-in-law, C.J. Thomas and Albert Olivier; brother-in-law, John Willard Barron and son-in-law, Jeffrey Baumrucker.
Pallbearers will be Maurice Martin, Marcel Martin, Mitchell Martin and Adam Martin.
Honorary Bearers are William S. Patout III, Marcel Maraist, Dr. Merrick Wyble and the Saint Peter’s College Class of 1951.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the library of Our Lady of Fatima School, 2315 Johnston St., Lafayette, LA 70503, or St. Joseph Hospice, 1003 S. Hugh Wallis Rd., Ste. F2, Lafayette, LA 70508. Online obituary and guestbook may be viewed at www.fountainmemorialfuneralhome.com.
Fountain Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery of Lafayette, 1010 Pandora St., (337) 981-7098 is in charge of arrangements.