Obituary: Kimberly Martin

Anthropology professor, traveler, feminist

Kimberly Porter Martin, professor of anthropology at the University of La Verne and 40 year resident of Claremont, died peacefully on January 7 in South Bend, Indiana. She was 69 years old. 

Ms. Martin dedicated her life to the communities of Southern California by helping her students, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, pursue a degree in higher education and accomplish their dreams in life.

She graduated from Stanford University in 1969, pursued graduate studies at the University of Hawaii and Penn State University before earning her PhD from the University of California, Riverside.

She traveled the world, leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of understanding, empathizing with and preserving cultures other than her own. She will be especially remembered for her work in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she took students many times over the years and developed long lasting friendships with artisans both in the city and the surrounding valleys. She had loyal friends and people who loved her in all corners of the world. 

She is survived by her daughter Josephine Kowalewski (Kevin Kowalewski), 37, and her son William Martin (Jaime Martin), 39; and six grandchildren from 2 to 10 years old.

“Kim will be remembered by her family and friends as a prodigious travel companion, a loyal friend, a brilliant mind, a tough feminist, an avid collector of cultural artifacts and as the most incredible mother anyone could ever ask for,” her family shared. “She gave so much to this world and asked for so little in return. She will eternally remain in our hearts forever young.”

A memorial service is being held at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 20 at Rancho  Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont. All are welcome.

If you would like to honor Ms. Martin, please consider giving to Uncommon Good’s college access mentoring program at, or by check to 211 W. Foothill Blvd.,  Claremont, CA 91711. Please specify that the donation is being made in memory of Kimberly Martin.

Uncommon Good is a nonprofit organization that works to give every child, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, access to a meaningful college education.


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