On Friday, January 25, 2013, nearly 20 years after his first diagnosis, Daniel Martínez lost his battle with prostate cancer. Daniel was born November 20, 1928 in Claremont, California to Daniel Fernández Martínez and Nieves Guadalupe Miranda Martínez, who came to the U.S. from Mexico as youngsters. The third of ten children, he began his education in a segregated school in Ontario, CA. In Daniel’s teen years, his father became ill, so he went to work to help support the family. Each year the siblings traveled across California following the harvest as migrants. They often missed weeks of school. Despite this, Daniel excelled academically, and lettered in track and field at Claremont High School. With a scholarship from a local philanthropist, Daniel attended Chaffey College, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara (earning a B.A. in History) and Claremont College, where he earned a Master’s degree and a teaching credential. A passionate scholar and inspired mentor, Daniel taught for 37 years. He taught at Claremont High School, Riverside Poly, San Bernardino Valley College, and Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead where he headed the Foreign Language Department from 1955 to 1987. Besides Spanish, he taught driver training, photography and other subjects, officiated basketball, and coached track and field. An active member of the Pacific Coast Council of Latin American Studies, Daniel was part of President John F. Kennedy’s NDEA "Sputnik" teacher’s workshops at the University of Kansas, in 1961. His 1958 Master’s thesis on the Bracero Program has been widely studied, and in 2009 was recognized as part of the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent history archive.
Daniel married his sweetheart, Barbara Dawrs, a Pomona College graduate, in 1955. With a shared love of learning and commitment to service, Daniel and Barbara traveled extensively, including a 1985 sabbatical in Madrid, Spain. As active members of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, the Arrowhead Arts Association, the Democratic Party and other groups, the two have shared their gifts and talents across the community. Daniel was a multi-talented individual. As children, he and his siblings sang and danced professionally, performing folklóricos with the Padua Hills Players. He was an accomplished artist, a gifted photographer, painter, and wood carver whose work is part of private and public collections. As a child, Daniel suffered from Bell’s Palsy, with facial paralysis that left him with his signature "crooked" smile. Having been different as a child, he had a special appreciation for kids who had trouble fitting in, and was always a champion of those who struggle to overcome life’s obstacles.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and younger sisters Pascualita Martínez and Christina Gonzalez Perez. A loving and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend, Daniel is survived by his wife Barbara ("Bobbie"); his children Elizabeth, Lee Anne, Michele, Daniel (Lissa), Reneé and Paul (Lisa); his grandchildren Mariam "Mimi" and Isabel Diawara, Javier Martínez, and Cara and Mia Martínez; his siblings Eusevia "Cheva" García, Gene "Queño" (Dolores), Isabel (Joe) Alba, Patrocinio (Beth Ann), Veronica "Lupita" Bone (Gordon) Curtis, Marciano (Mercedes) and Richard Martínez; 45 nieces and nephews and their families, and numerous cousins, including his good friend and cousin, Dr. Peter Armendárez, a nuclear physicist who also inspired Daniel in his passion for higher education. In this spirit, a scholarship fund has been established in Daniel’s name. Donations may be made to the fund, c/o Rim of the World Community Scholarship Council, P.O. Box 1816, Blue Jay, CA 92317 (check memo line: "in memory of Daniel Martínez").
Our beloved Daniel leaves a legacy of countless students, colleagues, and friends whose lives were touched by his larger than life spirit, his zest for learning, and his joyful approach to each day, always accompanied by a song. A memorial service will be held Saturday February 9, at 11:00 am at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 27627 Rim of the World Dr., Lake Arrowhead, CA, 92352.