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Educator, coach, administrator Bob Martin lived life through family, friendship and service

Aug 17, 2022

BY STEVEN MAYER smayer@bakersfield.com 1 of 4 Longtime local educator and coach Robert "Bob" Martin poses in front of a photo hanging in Luigi's Restaurant in Old Town Kern, which shows Martin and other members of East Bakersfield High School's varsity football coaching staff in 1971. Christina Ward / Courtesy photo From left, Assistant Coach/Line Coach Bob Martin, Line Coach John Albee, Head Coach Hollis Shannon, QB/Receivers Coach Rick Swan are shown in this photo from the 1968 East Bakersfield High School yearbook. EBHS Courtesy photo It was just a fact of life for the children of veteran educator, coach and administrator Bob Martin that when the family went out to dinner, one of their father's students from years past would often approach their table. “Coach, do you remember me,” they might start out. Or “Mr. Martin, I was in your English class during my senior year at EB … .” It was all part of growing up with a larger-than-life dad, who taught innumerable life lessons during his career, even as he was teaching students how to structure a sentence in an essay, or tackle a fullback on the gridiron. Robert “Bob” Edward Martin, family man, mentor and member of his own Bakersfield Rat Pack, died July 21 after a long and fruitful life. He was 89. Born Oct. 11, 1932, in San Francisco, young Bob was in the sixth grade when his family moved to Bakersfield. He attended local schools and graduated from East Bakersfield High before attending Bakersfield College and completing his bachelor's degree at Fresno State and his master's at Cal Lutheran. He wasn’t yet 20 when he married the former Angie Repka in 1952. It was a union that would welcome six children into the ever-growing Martin household. Bob and Angie’s love affair would last 64 years until Angie’s passing in 2016, but during those six decades, they lived life to the fullest. Bob's love of the game of football led him to play at EBHS and at BC. When he began teaching at East, he naturally gravitated to coaching. “We didn’t just coach together, we became the best of friends,” remembers longtime colleague and one-time EBHS head football coach Hollis Shannon. “Bob had a lot of best friends because he was that kind of guy,” Shannon recalls. “You feel you’re lucky to be one of Bob’s best friends.” Shannon was a P.E. teacher at East and serving as head coach of the Blades varsity football team when Martin joined the varsity coaching staff as assistant coach/line coach in the 1968-69 football season. Martin’s impact was immediate. “He was outstanding, really,” recalls Shannon, now 90. “He had a way with them (the players) few people do.” Martin taught the fundamentals, Shannon says. He was firm with his players, his expectations were high, but many of those teens would become his friends as adults, and some would remain so for the rest of Martin's life. As a line coach, Martin wasn’t often blessed with big guards, tackles and centers. Indeed, he wasn’t a big athlete when he played center for EBHS and later for Bakersfield College. “But they were good,” the former head coach remembers of Martin’s linemen. During the four years the two men coached together, Martin had two All-City linemen of the year — quite a feat as only one player citywide was chosen for that honor each year. The team tied in two of those four years for the South Yosemite League Championship. But there was more going on than building great teams. Before moving to the high school level, Martin taught at Freemont and Franklin elementary schools and Compton Junior High. One of Martin's former students, David Nicholas, was in Bob Martin's homeroom class at Compton before both, by coincidence, moved on to EBHS. During his years as a student at East, one incident remains unforgettable for Nicholas. The incident was a window, he believes, into the values and character of Bob Martin. "There were these gang wars going on on campus," Nicholas remembers. "On this day, the star of the football team was being chased by three or four of those guys." When they came around a corner, Martin was standing there. "He was built like a fireplug," Nicholas says of his former teacher. "He wasn't big, but he faced those guys down. He took a stance." They turned around and walked away. "He was really loved by his students," Nicholas remembers all these years later. "He impacted a lot of lives." Martin's career would continue to soar, as he became a counselor in the early 1970s, East's director of activities in the mid- to late '70s. After working as a dean at North High School, Martin would make a shift to the vice principal position at the Bakersfield Adult School. He would retire in 1994. But longtime friend and colleague Jack Ziegler believes Martin's influence in education was expanded statewide with his involvement as presidents and as a board member for the California Association of Directors of Activities, a professional organization whose mission is to enrich student activities on campuses across the state — and by doing so, keep students interested in attending and engaging in school. But Ziegler also remembers that when the serious job was done, Martin was often the ideal host at parties and get-togethers. "We got in some trouble every once in a while," Ziegler recalls with a laugh. Indeed, from his early days to adulthood, Bob Martin had a group of friends who were often referred to as the Bakersfield Rat Pack, a reference to the lighthearted, hard-partying friendship between Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and other Hollywood figures of the 1950s and early '60s. Veteran Kern County Supervisor Mike Maggard says his father, Bill Maggard, and Martin were close friends for decades. Each stood up as best man at the wedding of his friend. But like the incident at East High, for Mike Maggard, Bob Martin's character revealed itself once again in the years following a terrible auto accident that left Bill Maggard a quadriplegic at age 65. "Bob Martin and the Rat Pack remained loyal to my dad," Maggard says. They created a contraption that allowed their paralyzed friend to play cards with them — and they came over regularly to do just that. "Bob remained a loyal friend to my father, true to the friendship they began as boys," Maggard remembers. "My father died at 77. Bob was there as a friend that whole time." Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Greenlawn Memorial Park Northeast, 3700 River Blvd. A celebration of life will follow at 3 p.m. at Rio Bravo Country Club, 15200 Casa Club Drive. All are welcome. Reporter Steven Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter: @semayerTBC. Deaths: 2,508 Percentage of all cases that are unvaccinated: 72.60 Percentage of all hospitalizations that are unvaccinated: 83.34

Bob Martin Investments

1 Investments

Bob Martin has made 1 investments. Their latest investment was in Coro Health as part of their Series A on November 11, 2010.

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Bob Martin Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

11/11/2010

Series A

Coro Health

$2M

Yes

Date

11/11/2010

Round

Series A

Company

Coro Health

Amount

$2M

New?

Yes

Co-Investors

Sources

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