Katie Martin passed away peacefully on Monday, June 7, 2021 at the age of 89. She was born in Long Beach, CA on March 19, 1932 and was the beloved daughter of Kenneth and Merle Crump, spending her happy childhood living in their home that sat above their business, Crump Cleaners on Anaheim and Pacific. A proud Jackrabbit, she graduated from Long Beach Poly High School in 1949. She attended Long Beach City College then the Bishop Johnson College of Nursing at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, graduating in 1953 as a Registered Nurse.
She married the love of her life, Fred Martin, on September 6, 1953 at the Greenwich Wedding Chapel in Naples, CA. After buying their first and only house on Snowden Avenue, Katie found her true calling as a mother when they welcomed daughter Jeri in 1957 and son Rick in 1959. Katie and Fred shared a life of service to others through her work as a nurse and his career as a Long Beach Fire Captain, known in the Department by his well-earned nickname, Fearless.
They built a backyard swimming pool, which became a gathering place for family, friends and neighbors of all ages. Katie and Fred spent their vacations taking long road trips with their cab-over camper pulling a boat. Often joined by Fred's younger brother and Katie's adored other 'kid' Jerry "Unk" Martin, they had countless adventures at the many fishing and waterski lakes that became part of the family tradition, from Rock Creek to Nacimiento to Shasta.
Their other favorite destination was Big Bear Lake, where Fred built their vacation home steps from the ski area at Snow Summit in 1974. Several of Fred's fire fighter friends also had cabins nearby, and they and their families spent years together skiing, fishing, socializing and for Katie and the ladies, frequenting the quaint local shops.
Nursing was the perfect career choice for Katie, who had a passion for helping people. After starting her career in private practice with several doctors in Long Beach, then the Long Beach Health Department, she found her dream job in 1969 working in the Student Health Center at Cal State University Long Beach. She thrived on the atmosphere, challenges and camaraderie she found there until her retirement in 1990. It was there that she earned her degree as a Nurse Practitioner and built treasured friendships that would last the rest of her life. Among her many accomplishments was helping to start one of the first AIDS clinics in the country, leading the way for other communities to follow. At CSULB, her kind and positive spirit, can-do attitude, medical expertise and sparkle of fun made her a favorite among her countless patients, many of them students living away from home who considered her a "second Mom."
In her free time, she was an expert bowler, avid tennis player, competed in archery with the Long Beach Bowhunters Club and went on many hunting trips with Fred, but intentionally came home empty-handed because in her own words, she "could never kill anything." She loved supporting her family's sports endeavors, as Fred conquered karate and table tennis, Rick and Unk starred in baseball and Jeri was busy with gymnastics, volleyball and recreational sports at El Dorado Park.
Katie took great joy in music and theater, which she happily shared with her family and friends throughout her life. Among the artists she saw in concert were Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Gary Morris, k.d. lang, and Dancing with the Stars and American Idols on Tour. She enjoyed musical theater productions at venues up and down the West Coast and often attended Jazz at the Naz at the First Nazarene Church in Long Beach, where she and her friends were regulars sitting at their favorite table in the back, earning the affectionate nickname "The Golden Girls"
Katie was known for being the go-to person for all of her family members and friends - listening, empathizing and offering advice, encouragement, her quick wit and humorous outlook. She was an enthusiastic amateur matchmaker and took great joy in seeing people find happiness in their life journeys and relationships. Katie enjoyed being an active member of Beta Rho, the Long Beach Poly High School sorority, staying connected to friends she had known for over seventy years. She delighted in her many daily phone calls and made everyone she spoke with feel better just for talking to Katie Martin that day.
The cornerstone of Katie's life and guiding principle was love. Those lucky enough to be in her circle of family and friends felt this love in every conversation, which always ended with "I love you." She was the ultimate wife, mother, grandmother, neighbor and friend, and made everyone feel special. To her doctors, she was more than just a patient and to her wonderful team of caregivers, she was "Mama." Katie was known at the West Coast Dialysis Center as "The Ambassador of Happiness", always uplifting the staff and her fellow patients in her five years there. As one lifelong pal put it, "everyone felt they were her best friend." This love is her lasting and inspiring legacy and the greatest gift she could have left us all.
Katie was preceded in death by her husband, Fred and parents, Kenneth and Merle. She is survived by her daughter, Jeri and son-in-law, Dan Fouts; son, Rick and daughter-in-law, Jodi Martin; grandchildren, Ryan Burbank, Shannon Fouts, Kyle Martin, Travis Martin, Daniel and Carly Buesing and Samantha Fulton; brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Cristi Martin, niece, Jenny Scott, nephew, Mark Martin, cousins, Marty and Darlene Crump, Irv and Karen Crump, Walter Crump, Roy Crump and Melisse Perré; and a large and loving group of dear friends.
There will be a private graveside service at Forest Lawn in Cypress on Friday, July 2, followed by a Celebration of Life at the El Dorado Park Golf Course on Sunday, August 15 at 11:30 a.m.
For those wishing to honor Katie, the family suggests donations be made to the American Kidney Fund (www.kidneyfund.org
) or the Friends of Long Beach Firefighters (3205 Lakewood Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90808 or www.friendsoflbfire.org
) "in Memory of Katherine Martin."
Katie would want us to always remember these words: "To have a friend, be a friend."'
Published by Press-Telegram on Jun. 19, 2021.