John Oliver Martinez (85), peacefully, yet unexpectedly, passed from this life to eternal life on Saturday, November 2, 2019. John is survived by his cherished wife of 62 years, Martha Jenkins Martinez; children, Mitzi (Jim) Renfro, Vicki (Alan) Dooley, Sherri (Bob) Johnson; grandchildren, Natalie (Michael) Morosi, Allison Renfro, Jay Renfro, Nathan (Megan) Renfro, Melissa (Alex) Aust, John (Jennings) Dooley, Jennifer Johnson, and Meredith Johnson; great-grandchildren, Ruby Grace Ratton, Carina Morosi, and Paolo Morosi; cousin, Marjorie Shepherd and a large and loving Jenkins extended family. He is preceded in death by his parents, Hazel Marie Smith and John Howard Martinez.
John was born November 21, 1933, in Knoxville, Tennessee, where his lifelong love of the University of Tennessee began. He lived his early years in Knoxville and moved to Nashville at age 16 and was a graduate of Isaac Little High School. John honorably served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Korean War and attended MTSU upon his return. He began his career as a corporate credit manager at Frost Arnett, continuing with Genesco and Ingram Industries, before retiring from Georgia Boot Company. John was a longtime member of Brentwood United Methodist Church where he served as a Stephen Minister and was an active member of the Wesley Forum Sunday School Class where he served as president, taught and coordinated programming for the class.
A loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he will be remembered for his gentle, kind spirit, his engaging conversation skills, and his great interest in the people around him. His ability to listen intentionally and his complete presence in conversation made others feel loved, valued, and seen. John treated his interactions with his children and grandchildren with a seriousness and respect, not often shown by adults to children, showing them their ideas were worthy, pushing them to go deeper in considering their beliefs and choices. He was extremely proud of his family and was joyful about the purposeful direction of their lives. A lifelong learner, he loved to soak in the atmosphere wherever he went and liked nothing more than to engage in thoughtful discussions about ideas, politics, nature, travel, literature and sports. Throughout John’s life he loved all, forgave all, and was eternally optimistic. Together with his wife, he built his family‘s foundation on a love where every person is celebrated and he extended that generosity of spirit to all he encountered.
A celebration of life service will be held at noon on Friday, November 8, 2019, at Brentwood United Methodist Church, with Bishop Joe Pennel and Reverend Travis Garner officiating. His family will receive friends from 10:30 a.m. until time for the service. Inurnment will follow immediately after the service at the church’s columbarium.
Active Pallbearers will be his daughters. Honorary Pallbearers will be his grandchildren and the Wesley Forum Sunday School Class of Brentwood United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wesley Forum Foundation, Brentwood United Methodist Church, the Village Church Building Fund or the charity of your choice.
To leave a note for John’s family or to share a memory, please sign the online guestbook.