With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Benjamin G. Martinez, aka Benji, 86, on October 8, 2020.
Ben is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dolores S. Martinez and his precious hijitas Roberta Roybal (Roger) and Pamela Grieco (Tony), grandchildren Christina Ortega (Manny), Nick Grieco (Sarah), and Teddy Roybal. He is also survived by five great grandchildren, and sisters Rose Marie Beatey and Irene Quintana (Louie). Preceding Ben in death was his young brother Bobby, his mother Helen, father Ben A. Martinez and brother William Martinez.
A lifelong resident of Santa Fe Ben was born August 31, 1934. He attended St. Michaels High School and was state boxing champ for three straight years. Upon graduation, Ben enlisted in the United States Army and retired after 23 years active duty and one tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter crew chief. Ben was also stationed with his family in Colorado, Oklahoma, Alabama, and three tours of duty in West Germany. Ben was sent to Germany in 1959 to be a part of the Berlin Airlift Project where he and his crew dropped food and other goods from helicopters to the East Berlin people after the Berlin Wall went up.
Upon retirement from military service, Ben returned to his home in Santa Fe and worked for the State of New Mexico Corrections Department as an arts and crafts instructor. Ben retired and immediately did volunteer work at Mary Esther Gonzales (MEG) Senior Center teaching jewelry and ceramics. Ben was honored as ten who make a difference in 2016.
Ben’s greatest joy was time spent with his grandsons on frequent fishing trips to the Pecos River and Monastery Lake, picking them up from school, and allowing them to drive the cars at Toys Are Us until he had to drag them out of there. His great grandchildren brought him great joy with their frequent visits and family functions.
Ben was an amazing artisan skilled in carpentry, jewelry, ceramics, micaceous clay, and other arts and crafts mediums. Ben was very much loved and will be very much missed by his family, friends, and former students of MEG.
Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, October 15 at 10:00 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Covid -19 safety precautions will include masks and social distancing. Private interment with full military honors will be held at a later date at the National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Santa Fe Animal Shelter.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Benjamin George Martinez, please visit our floral store.
Santa Fe Animal Shelter &Humane Society
100 Caja del Rio Road, SANTA FE NM 87507