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Jose Luis Martinez

March 23, 1948 - July 18, 2020
Lawton, MI



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1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
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Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
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Life Story / Obituary


Determined and hard-working, Jose Luis Martinez was a genuine person through and through. A devoted husband, father, and grandfather he savored the time he spent with his growing family over the years. Jose lived his life to the fullest by working hard to provide for the family he so loved. A generous person, a loyal friend, as well as a loving dad, Jose will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

The 1940s were overshadowed by WWII, but out of this time came great ingenuity and resolve. By 1948, the first prefabricated homes were being built in the U.S. to solve the booming need for affordable housing. Televisions were appearing in more and more homes, NASCAR held its first race in Daytona, and the Frisbee brought fun and games to children of all ages. That same year, Jose Luis was born on March 23, 1948, in Matehuala, Mexico. His birth brought his mother great joy and happiness.

Growing up in a small town, Jose lived a typical childhood of the times, playing with the neighborhood kids and completing his elementary education. As a teenager, Jose met a young girl named Alicia Torres who lived next door to his grandmother. At the time, they didn’t know they’d later begin dating and become husband and wife. Later, Jose’s parents moved their young family to the United States as they found work in the agricultural industry. Jose’s younger brother was born in America during this time which later helped Jose acquire citizenship. As he grew older, Jose found work on the farms in Texas before he and Alicia joined in marriage in their hometown in Mexico.

A hard worker and steadfast provider for his family, Jose travelled to the Lawton area where other family members had settled. He was offered a job at Honee Bear Canning where he worked for over 50 years. After he established a new home, his wife and daughters soon joined him. Each of their daughters were born in Texas where they stayed for the winter months. The months of March through October, they lived in Lawton where he worked and enjoyed Michigan’s cooler summer weather. Not long after moving to Michigan, their son was born.

As a father, Jose was strict and expected the best from his kids. Despite his firmness, they never doubted his love and knew that he would do absolutely anything for them. As a husband, he respected his marriage and showed his loved for Alicia by taking her dancing, even if it wasn’t his favorite activity, especially at the weddings of family members where they were known to dance well into the late hours. With a large extended family, they enjoyed many years of visiting relatives in Mexico every Easter and Christmas, driving the winding roads from Texas into Mexico which often made the kids nauseous from their spot in the pickup truck! With only one family TV in the house over the years, the kids grew accustomed to watching the Detroit Tigers and NASCAR with Dad before he would give them any chance to change the channel! Jose modeled a beautiful example of loving his family through small acts of love and large acts of sacrifice through his hard physical labor as well as his endless encouragement.

To relax, Jose enjoyed many simple pleasures in life. In addition to camping, he loved taking his son and grandchildren fishing, particularly on local lakes in Texas. He seldom missed the chance to get together with close friends after work for a drink or a game of Dominos. Hanging out at his cousin’s pole barn shooting pool was also a regular activity. The Martinez Pole Barn was perhaps Jose’s favorite place to unwind, chat with family and friends, and enjoy the lasting friendships he’d made over the years. Proud of his heritage, he loved listening to Mexican music as well attending the countless family cookouts where everyone brought a dish to pass and no one went home hungry. He was most content any time he was surrounded by those he loved.

As much as he enjoyed his role as a father, Jose was an exceptional grandpa, doting on his grandchildren and treating each of them as special in his presence. His strong work ethic and endless generosity were his greatest source of pride in supporting his family. Jose lived a life that was focused on being his best self for his family as well as for the many close friends that he treasured. Without question, there simply wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for anyone in need! His heart of gold is his truest legacy. May his loved ones never doubt the love he held for each of them and may his memories endure forever.

Jose Luis Martinez, age 72, died on July 18, 2020. Jose was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Gerardo Martinez. Surviving are his loving wife of 51 years, Alicia; children: Hilda (Gilbert) Flores, Julissa (Gumersindo) Hinojosa, Rosalinda (Roberto) Bugarin, Araceli (Nazario) Lopez, Sulema (Carlos) Prieto, and Jose Luis Jr. (Iracema) Martinez; 23 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; siblings: Maria Cristina Lara Martinez, Dario Martinez, and Miguel Martinez; and many nieces and nephews. A private Life Story service will be held with cremation to follow. Visit Jose’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign his online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice. Arrangements by Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw, 49079. (269) 657-3870.