Obituary: Susan Martin

Beloved wife, mother and grandmother

Susan Martin, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died June 10 at her home in Claremont after a year-long battle with metastatic breast cancer. She was 73.

Susan was born July 2, 1946 in Stockton, California, the only child of Ralph and Rosalind Watson. They lived in several places throughout California and Las Vegas before moving to her mother’s home state of Hawaii in 1953 and settling in Honolulu.

While a high school student at Sacred Hearts Academy, she modeled for Muggy’s Modeling Agency. Her senior year, she was selected Miss Teenage Hawaii and traveled to Dallas, Texas for the national pageant.

After graduating in 1964, she attended the University of Hawaii, Manoa. There, she met Jim Martin and they were married on June 23, 1967. That fall, they moved to Arizona, where she worked as a travel agent and Mr. Martin attended the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management. Upon completion of his masters’ degree, they then moved to Akron, Ohio for a training program with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.

In early 1970 they embarked on a two-year assignment in Monrovia, Liberia, where Ms. Martin gave birth to their only child, Jessica.

After returning to the United States in 1972, the Martin family lived in San Mateo, California; Stone Mountain, Georgia; and Madison, New Jersey before settling in Irvine in 1979. There Ms. Martin continued her work as a corporate travel agent with the Irvine Travel Company.

In 1999, the Martins moved to Claremont to be close to their daughter and her family. She continued to work at the Irvine Travel Company for several years after moving, but then accepted a position as the parish administrator at St. Ambrose Church in Claremont. She worked there until her retirement in 2011.

Her career as a travel agent afforded her the opportunity to travel extensively, which she loved. Although she had a desire to visit new places, she always felt the pull of her favorite city in the world, Paris. She made several trips over her lifetime with family and friends, and imparted her love for the City of Light to them all.

She also found great joy in her community at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. As a longtime parishioner and former administrator, she developed many profound friendships and helped others to make connections within the congregation as well. She delighted in bringing people together who she thought would enjoy each other’s company.

One of her great talents was entertaining. She was a remarkable cook who hosted elegant yet comfortable dinner parties, where guests left with full stomachs and hearts.

This generosity of spirit was also reflected in her service to the community. She worked tirelessly and used her talents to support a variety of outreach efforts for people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

She is survived by her husband Jim; daughter and son-in-law Jessica and Jim Marchant; and grandchildren Drew and Laurel.

A memorial service honoring her life will be held at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Claremont Homeless Advocacy Program at or by check to CHAP, 830 W. Bonita Ave., Claremont, CA 91711.


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