Baker City, 1920-2018
Delph “Dan” Martin, 98, of Baker City died on May 21, 2018, at his home.
A celebration of his life potluck will take place Sunday, May 27, at 1 p.m. at Dan and Nan’s home.
Dan was born on May 5, 1920, at his parents’ home in Ottawa, Kansas. At the age of 15 his family moved to Ontario at the height of the Dust Bowl years. After graduating high school in 1940, he followed his family to Everett, Washington, then to Bellingham, Washington. In December 1943 he married Frances “Nan” Backlund. For the next 20 years he worked in shipyards, an early plywood plant, and did a tour of duty in the Marines. While in the Marines, Dan schooled in radio communication and training Navajo wind talkers.
In January of 1960, Dan moved his family to Baker City and bought a ranch on Highway 7, where he and Nan remained for 53 years. He worked on the construction of the Ash Grove Cement Plant in Durkee, as well as on Interstate 84, building bridges and overpasses between Ladd Canyon and Durkee. He also worked on the building of the Hell Canyon Dam, Brownlee Dam, and Mason Dam.
Dan was a writer, a poet, a political student, and a social critic, often known for his scathing letters to the editor in the Democrat Herald and later Baker City Herald. He was passionate about democracy and the care of the planet. In his 98 years he witnessed the Great Depression, World War II, the atom bomb, the Cold War, Hitler’s Europe, Stalinist Russia, as well as more recent events.
Dan is survived by his beloved wife, Nan; his children, Cherryl Martin, Karen (Tom) Rudolph, Daphne (Lary) Hall, and Ilo (Ed) Widman, all of Baker City, and his son, Dann (Betty) Martin of Harper, Oregon; his younger brother, Doral Martin; 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and eight siblings.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heart ’n’ Home Hospice and Palliative Care, or the charity of one’s choice, through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
To light a candle in memory of Dan, or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.grayswestco.com.