Mark Craig Martin of Vineyard Haven, a man of quick wit who had a talent for writing letters to the editors of the local newspapers, and posting comments that stirred the Islanders social media pot and made people laugh, died on Jan. 1, 2016, at the Winchester Hospital following a coronary arrest. He was 49.
He attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Day School and Texas Military Institute in San Antonio, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising of Los Angeles in 1989. Mark worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles for a decade following graduation.
Mark moved to the Vineyard in September of 1999 and started a business, Eco-MV, a few years later, dedicated to selling environmentally sensitive products.
Mark was a popular member of the Islanders Talk chat room, and became a favorite with site founder Lori Robinson Fisher and several hundred of its more than 5,000 members for his controversial views and unparalleled humor.
In a tribute to Mark posted Jan. 6, artist Elizabeth R. Whelan wrote the following on her blog: “Mark C. Martin died this week, but his memory and legacy will live on. Not only was he a wonderful fellow, I credit Mark with starting me on the path to a career in fine art. It’s impossible to sum up the impact a person has on one’s life in a blog post. Instead, here’s a small tribute via design and art to a man ahead of his time.
“Mark and I met in November 2007 at my graphic design studio at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven. He needed some labels and marketing materials, and we worked on projects together over the next couple of years. One of those put me on the road to fine art and the life I am now living. I cannot thank him enough for this. He gave me my very first painting commission, and lit a spark inside!
“Reading the comments on Facebook as people post in sympathy, I realize how many folks did not have the chance to know Mark Martin in person. This is a shame, as it would have made some of his more inflammatory statements easier to understand — and in fact, to laugh at — if you could hear the voice and humor behind them! Mark had a great wit, a huge heart, a wonderful mind, and a serious dedication to doing good in the world. The company he started, EcoMV, was a reflection of that dedication.”
In addition to his talent for stirring the Islanders Talk pot, Mark will be remembered for his humorous and well-written letters to the editors of both Island newspapers, The MVTimes and the Gazette. He died before submitting his final letter to the editor. Mark loved writing those letters.
Above all, he loved his immediate family and adored his two shar-peis, Emma and John Rambo. His mother described her son as loving, devoted, generous and ever-protective. “Mark’s passing has left a void in my heart that can only be filled by the grace of the Father of us all and the knowledge that Mark is at peace and we shall all be reunited with loved ones in the Kingdom of Heaven,” Ginger said. “Vaya con Dios, hijo mio.”
Mark was preceded in death by his father, Walter H. Martin, and brother, Harper Michael Martin, both of San Antonio, Texas. Mark is survived by his mother, Ginger H. Martin, and stepfather David J. Duarte, of Vineyard Haven, and sisters, Peggy Martin Calhoun and Joy Martin Curnutt, both of San Antonio, Texas; a niece, Lauren Calhoun Smith and nephew, Jeff Curnutt, as well as myriad aunts, uncles, and cousins in Texas and California. Mark is also survived by his many friends on Martha’s Vineyard.
A service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 11 am at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven. Following the service, a reception will be held in the Parish Hall of Grace Church. Refreshments will be served.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial donations be made to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, 111 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.