Howard Marion Martinie departed this life at age 97 on June 18, 2023, after a long decline.
He was born on December 21, 1925, in Staunton, Illinois, to Paul and Cora (Awe) Martinie. His father died when he was 3, and he and his beloved older brother Ralph were raised in Lincoln through the Great Depression by his mother and a loving extended family. After high school, having only left Logan County a few times, he served on the European front line in WWII from 1944-45 in the 1st Infantry Division, earning a Bronze Star. Returning home, he attended Lincoln College, then Bradley University on the GI Bill, earning a mechanical engineering degree. He designed bearing assemblies and related products for employers including Link-Belt, Hoover Ball & Bearing, Sundstrand, SKF, Dodge Manufacturing, Reliance Electric, and Rockwell Automation. By the time he retired, well into his 80s, he had acquired 23 patents and was probably the world’s most experienced bearing engineer.
Howard married Lorraine Bree on November 23, 1950. Together they raised three children and lived in Lincoln; Brownsburg, Indiana; Ypsilanti, Michigan; Rockford, Illinois; King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Mishawaka, Indiana, Simpsonville and Greenville, South Carolina; and Lake Barrington, Illinois, always joining a local Lutheran church where he often served in leadership roles. They celebrated their 70th anniversary shortly before Lorraine died on December 17, 2020.
He said if he hadn’t gone to college, he would have been a carpenter. An incredibly handy man, he built furniture, maintained and painted his houses, and engaged in a wide variety of projects over the years, including building a two car garage. Once he laid a flower on a piece of slate and thought it looked nice. That led to a decades-long hobby of making slate plaques under the name of House of Martinie, which were sold at craft fairs. He supported Lorraine’s artistry by making frames for her paintings and attending art shows. He was an avid reader and his favorite topic was American history, especially the Civil War and WWII. He closely followed business and politics, reading a daily newspaper and Business Week magazine most of his adult life. Every family vacation included trips to art museums, historic houses, and if possible, Civil War battlefields. He and Lorraine traveled extensively, visiting Europe several times, and locations all over the U.S. Favorite destinations included Provence and Kauai. A highlight of his retirement was the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series win.
The most important thing to him was his family. He was a loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and was always interested in what everyone was up to, helping whenever he could, while usually refraining from giving unsolicited advice. He and Lorraine hosted annual family gatherings on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, took annual “sibling” vacations with Lorraine’s brother Don and sister Twila and their spouses Donna and Mike, and often returned to Lincoln to visit family. He was fun to be with and a nice, funny, funny man known for his off-key renditions of “Happy Birthday” when he called to congratulate family members.
He was preceded in death by wife Lorraine Martinie, parents Paul and Cora Martinie, brother and sister-in-law Ralph and Betty Martinie, brother-in-law Donald Bree, and sister-in-law Barbara Bree. He is survived by children Steve (Joan) Martinie of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, Roger (Gloria) Martinie of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, and Linda (James) Hoffmann of Elgin, Illinois; grandchildren (who knew him as “Grandpa Howie”) Allison, Amelia, Michelle, and Rebecca (Brad Endres) Martinie; Joshua, Sara, and Spencer (Kathleen) Hoffmann, and Melissa (Joe) Simon; step-grandchildren Liz Seabolt and Simon Yu; great-grandchildren Aiden Endres, Isaac and Maxine Hoffmann, Emma Simon, and one on the way; sisters-in law Donna Bree and Twila (Michael) Sullivan; nieces Jane (Darwin) Ingram, Lisa (Chris) Olson, Molly Sullivan, and Laura (Todd) Wooten; and nephews Brian (Carrie) Bree and Paul (Pam) Martinie.
Burial will be at New Union Cemetery in Lincoln, Illinois, on Friday, June 23, 2023, at 2:00 pm with Holland, Barry & Bennett Funeral Home assisting the family. Memorials to St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Greenville, South Carolina, or to Bradley University are suggested.`