9/16/1925 – 1/31/2021
Mike Torres Martinez, 95, passed away peacefully on Jan. 31, 2021, at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara due to complications related to Covid-19.
He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. His character was defined by strong family values of faith, hard work, honesty, responsibility, respect, being thankful and getting along with others.
Mike was born on Sept. 16, 1925, in Colton, California, the eighth of 12 children born to Maximo and Sabina Martinez. His parents immigrated from Teocaltiche, Mexico to the United States, arriving in Texas in 1918. During the Great Depression, Mike’s father and older brothers followed various work opportunities from Texas to the West Coast in the railway, mining, industrial and agricultural industries. Around 1934, the family arrived in Ventura County, where Mike and his siblings attended local schools and worked in the seasonal agriculture industry. The family moved permanently to Carpinteria in 1942, where they purchased a home.
During WWII, Mike followed his older brothers in responding to the nation’s request for help and enlisted in the military to defend their country. He served in the US 7th Army, 14th Armored Division “Liberators,” 25th Tank Battalion. He was involved in combat campaigns in Southern France, the Rhineland and Central Europe. He fought in several large-scale battles, including the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen, and the invasion and defeat of Nazi Germany as part of General Patton’s 3rd Army. His Division is credited for the liberation of several POW camps, including the infamous Dachau concentration camps complex. He was wounded in action six days before the war in Europe ended and received a Purple Heart.
After the war, Mike returned to Carpinteria, where he met and married Ramona Gonzales, and together they raised two sons. Mike worked in the local Carpinteria area for various organizations, including the Carpinteria Lemon Association, and then as a ranch foreman for Rancho Feliz. Later, he worked as a custodian for the Santa Barbara School District at San Marcos High School, “go Royals,” and retired after 22 years of service in 1987. Mike then performed volunteer and part-time work for Girls Inc. of Carpinteria and provided advice on the new facility’s construction.
Mike was a devoted husband and father; his family always came first. He enjoyed spending his retirement with the love of his life, Ramona, and together they enjoyed traveling, garage sales, working in their yard (a favorite activity), and visits from their family members, sons and grandchildren.
Following his wife’s death in 2012, he spent his final years of retirement at home working on his yard before moving to the GranVida Senior Living and Memory Care community. He was a member of the St. Joseph Church parish.
Mike is preceded in death by his wife, Ramona; parents, Maximo and Sabina Martinez; siblings, Agustin (Margarite), Refugio, Albert, Joe, Lupe (Lonnie), Max and Jack; and sisters-in-law, Linda Martinez and Rosie Martinez.
He is survived by two sons, Michael (Jennie) and Thomas (Clarice); and grandchildren, Stephen (Nina) Kelly, Daniel, Jon (Heidi) and David. He is also survived by three brothers, Jess, Lorenzo and Ernest (Jennie); and sisters-in-law, Rita Martinez, Catalina Martinez and Mercy Martinez.
Due to Covid-19 and cemetery service attendance restrictions, a small graveside service will be held at the Carpinteria Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2021. The family would like to thank the Cottage Hospital staff in Santa Barbara, his medical doctors at Sansum Clinic, and staff members of the GranVida Senior Living and Memory Care community. A special thanks goes out to the Emergency personnel at AMR and the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire District. Thanks for always being there when we needed you.