Leonard Martinek

December 20th, 1921 to January 18th, 2010


R. Martinek, 88, passed away at his home surrounded by loving family

on January 18, 2010. Leonard was born in Hamtramck, Michigan on

December 20, 1921, the third of five children of Ukranian and Polish

immigrant parents Andrew and Katherine Martyniuk. His last name was

simplified during his early school years to Martinek as was not

uncommon at the time.

Leonard went to high school

in Hamtramck and then attended the University of Michigan, studying

forestry and engineering. During part of one summer and all of

another during college he satisfied an urge for adventure and

traveled out west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and worked for the U.S.

Forest Service. Upon obtaining his Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

degree in 1943 he entered the Navy. He completed officer's

training at the Naval Training Station at Cornell University in

Ithaca, New York and received his commission as a lieutenant in

September 1943. Leonard served aboard ships in the Atlantic and

Pacific during World War II. As is typical of members of the Greatest

Generation, many details of his service in WWII remained largely

unknown to family until later in life. Stories were slowly told

uncovering a record of service in major engagements of the war that

included participation in the Normandy D-Day invasion as a Navy

beach-master. In the Pacific he served aboard the attack

transport ship Missoula

debarking troops for the invasion of Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Among her

troops, the Missoula

carried the dozen men that raised the American flag atop Mount

Suribachi on Iwo Jima as captured in perhaps the most famous

photographs of the war. His unit preceded General Douglas MacArthur

into Tokyo and the Missoula

was in Tokyo Bay, supporting the movement of occupation troops into

Japan, the day the Japanese surrender was signed on September 2, 1945

aboard the Missouri.

Upon discharge

from the Navy, Leonard started a sawmill operation in the Grand

Rapids area with two other University of Michigan graduates and Navy

veterans in 1946. There they felled mature trees, hauled them

to the sawmill, then rough-cut and sold the lumber. Later he worked

for a lumber mill in Michigan's Upper Peninsula followed by a

two-year stint with the Bureau of Maps and Survey in Los Angeles,

California. He became an avid skier and made trips with friends to

Sun Valley, Idaho, Northern Michigan and Quebec. Following a

desire to return to Michigan, he came to Port Huron in October 1949

and took a position as an estimator with the local construction firm

of Collins & Catlin, Inc. Leonard later became a co-owner

of the firm and led the company through successful construction

projects on innumerable prominent buildings in the Port Huron area.

These included the City-County Building, the McMorran Auditorium, the

Clara E. MacKenzie Library and Science Building at St. Clair

Community College, major additions to the Port Huron Hospital, the

Port Huron Water Treatment Plant, and construction of the Municipal

Office Building (MOC). Former Port Huron City Manager Gerald

Bouchard once said of him that when he ends up with one of our

projects, it ends up well. In 1986 Leonard retired together

with partner Dennis Collins and the firm closed its doors.

Leonard married

Dolores Chmiel, from Royal Oak, Michigan on February 6, 1954. The

couple honeymooned in New Orleans. Leonard and Dolores raised a

family of three sons Brian, Randy, Scott and daughter Lisa beginning

in a house on Lincoln Street in Port Huron. In 1962, Leonard

and Dolores moved the family to a beachfront cottage on Lakeshore Rd,

which was lovingly renovated over the years to allow the kids more

room to run, grow and enjoy the adventure and beauty of Lake Huron.

Tragically, daughter Lisa was lost to a traffic accident in 1968.

In 1996, with boys grown, they relocated to a home a few miles away

on Fairway Drive, where they have lived since.

Leonard was a long-time

member of the Kiwanis Club and sponsored many charitable fundraisers

and projects in the community. One of these many events was the

Hole-In-One Driving Range event held for several years in the late

1960s at the driving range formerly located at the corner of 24 th

Avenue and Keewahdin Rd.

Leonard is

survived by his wife of 55 years, Dolores, his three sons, Randy

(Cathy) of Fort Gratiot, Brian (Patricia and grandson's Ryan and

Connor) of Golden, Colorado, and Scott of Port Huron, and nephews

Leonard Martyniuk (Kathy) of Warren, Michigan, and Raymond (Margaret)

of Naples, Florida.

Funeral service will be held

at 11:00a.m. on Thursday, January 21 in Karrer - Simpson

Funeral Home with graveside service immediately following. Visitation

will be on Wednesday, January 20 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm and on Thursday

1 hour prior to service. Pallbearers are Randy, Brian, Scott, and

Ryan Martinek, Leonard and Ray Martyniuk.

Memorials can be made to

Visiting Nurses Association.

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