Willard G. Martin
Longtime Monte Vista resident Willard G. Martin passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, at the Colorado State Veterans Center Nursing Home at the age of almost 99 years old.
Willard was the son of Glenn and Ruby Martin, born in Artesia, N.M., on Feb. 18, 1925. His family moved to a cattle ranch about 12 miles from Abilene, Texas, and for the first eight years of school, he and a neighbor girl named Anita went to a school in Taylor County, having to ride their horses to and from school. Then in the last four years of high school his family moved closer to Abilene, and he was able to ride the bus to school until he graduated in 1943. The family then moved to a cattle ranch at Razor Creek, about 20 miles from Gunnison, Colo., where he helped his Dad and Mom herd and brand cattle and harvest hay.
On Sept. 7, 1944, Willard enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Rhineland Central Europe where he was sent to the 66th Armored Division Unit and was put in a medium tank as a Tank Driver. During the last year of his tour, he was a message center chief and then an SSG Administrative NCO before being discharged on Aug. 5, 1946.
He returned back to Razor Creek, Colo., and helped his Dad on the ranch and there he met his loving wife, Norma Lee Lockhart in Gunnison at a malt shop where she worked. They got married in Taos, N.M., in a double ceremony with their good friends, the Wheelers on Nov. 20, 1947.
Willard and Norma settled in Doyleville, Colo., on a cattle ranch, where they raised cattle and harvested hay. Willard also drove a truck delivering hay to the race tracks in Phoenix, Ariz., and Ruidoso, N.M. In 1960, Willard decided to change jobs and started working for Safeway driving a semi-truck, delivering groceries. Willard made his career with Safeway and made several moves around Colorado, and after 30 years of service he retired from Safeway. He resumed driving trucks all around the country for another 8-10 years before he decided to call it quits from driving trucks. Willard spent his remaining years taking care of his wife, home, and yard and being a snowbird in the winter months in Mesa, Ariz.
Willard is survived by his two daughters, Pat (Charlie) Burd and Carol (Ron) Martinez, three grandchildren, Shawn Burd, Lori (Art) Vigil, and Marla (Todd) Rumley, five great-grandchildren Lexi (Shane) Settle, Ryan Rumley, Spencer (Jasmine) Wingert, Sydney Rumley and Dalyn Burd, and two great-great-grandchildren Leia Wingert and Justin Settle.
Willard was preceded in death by his wife Norma Lee Martin, parents Glenn and Ruby Martin, his brother Jack Martin, and his Grandson Glen E. Martinez.
Cremation was selected and a graveside service for the family will be held at a later date. Rogers Family Mortuary is in care of arrangements, visit www.RogersFunerals.com.