Lester J. Martin, 92, passed away Jan. 24, 2012, in Parkdale, Ore., with family by his side. Lester was born April 15, 1919, in Beaver Dam, Wis., to Lester E. Martin and Evelyn Ann Vockroth.
He grew up in Beaver Dam where he enjoyed participating in sports, track and football. He graduated from Wayland Academy and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin studying chemical engineering.
In October of 1942 Lester married his longtime sweetheart, Janis Johnson, in Buffalo, N.Y. Lester served our country during World War II as a chemical engineer with the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M.
Lester and Janis moved to Los Angeles, where they lived for many years and he worked for Hughes Aircraft and worked as a consultant for various space aeronautics programs. They moved to Santa Ana, Calif., where they raised their four children.
They had a hobby of collecting antiques, so they opened an antique store in Tustin, Calif., which they operated for eight years.
Yearning to return to country living they moved to Parkdale, Ore., in 1968.
Lester was said to have retired at the age of 49 and went back to work at 51. He continued chemical engineering but in a different field of study: He was the originator and vintner of Mt. Hood Winery for 17 years.
It turned out to be a family hobby; all fruit wines produced from locally grown produce sold out of their home on Woodworth Road.
Lester and Janis loved to travel. They traveled the world with friends then drove across the U.S. in their motor home and met lots of new friends along the way.
Lester enjoyed staying active in real estate and worked for Don Nunamaker Real Estate for several years. He was active in the Lions Clubs in Parkdale and Charbonneau, was a member of Gideons International and Wayland Academy Alumni.
Janis passed away Oct. 12, 1992. Lester moved to Charbonneau, Ore., where he lived until this last month when he moved back to Parkdale.
Lester is survived and will be dearly missed by his four children: David Martin, and Gregory Martin, both of Parkdale, Paul Martin of College Place, Wash., and Victoria Wohllaib, also of Parkdale; 11 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; other distant family and a host of friends that he has collected over the years.
Memorials may be made in Lester's memory to Heart of Hospice. A funeral service was held Jan. 31 at the Parkdale Community Church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to leave a note of condolence for family.
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