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SCU mourns the death of Fr. Norman Martin, S.J.

In Memoriam

Fr. Norman Martin, S.J., professor emeritus of history at Santa Clara University, and special assistant to the President for university relations, passed away on Feb. 5 at the age of 91. The cause of death was congestive heart failure.

Visitation will be in the Jesuit Community Chapel on Friday Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Funeral services will be at 9.30 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the Mission Church, followed by a reception in the Williman Room in Benson Memorial Center.

He entered the Society of Jesus 70 years ago on July 30, 1935 and was ordained as a priest on Dec. 20, 1947. A graduate of Santa Clara University’s class of 1937, he joined the history department faculty in 1958, after receiving his doctorate in history from the University of Mexico.

“The university community has lost one its most beloved members,” said SCU President, Fr. Paul Locatelli, S.J. “Father Martin was known to generations of Santa Clara students, faculty, staff, alumni, and benefactors.  I am grateful for his almost 50 years of service to his alma mater as a faithful priest, a member of the history department, and, more recently as assistant to the president.  He lived a long, healthy, and full life.  He will be missed.”

During his career, Fr. Martin had been on the board of trustees at SCU and O’Connor Hospital, and chaplain for SCU’s Catala Club and SCU’s Board of Regents.

“Fr. Martin made a difference in the lives of innumerable students, alumni, and friends,” said Jim Purcell, vice president for university relations at SCU. “If you passed by his desk, he would be on the phone talking to an alum or a parent, or he would be talking to the staff. He was in the business of building relationships - he was loved by all who knew him and we will miss him terribly.”

In lieu of flowers, the Jesuit Community requests donations to Santa Clara University either for the Father Martin Scholarship Fund or the part of the new library that will be named in his memory. The Fr. Martin Scholarship Fund has over 650 donors, with an estimated value of $2.28 million and helps students with financial need. In the past year alone, the scholarship benefited 11 students.

In 2004, philanthropists Michael J. and Mary Orradre made a gift of $2 million for the new SCU library in honor of Fr. Martin. SCU alums John M. and Abby Sobrato also pledged $1million dollars in his honor to go towards the section in the library that will house the SCU archives.

A native of Half Moon Bay, Fr. Martin grew up in San Mateo, and came to SCU in 1933 as a freshman. He had planned to attend the University of California, Berkeley, but as the story goes, his mother had other ideas and sent him to Santa Clara University.

In the 60s and 70s as a history professor at SCU, he conducted research on socioeconomic problems of Colonial Mexico, especially the unemployment during that period.

A Guggenheim fellowship and research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society enabled him to continue his archival research in Madrid, Seville, Lisbon, Paris, London,, Vienna, Rome, and Dublin, as well as in Mexico and the Philippines.

His books, Los Vagabundos de la Nueva Espana, Siglo XVI, Instruccion del Virrey Marques de Croix a Antonia M. Bucareli, Instruccion Reservada al Conde de Moctezuma, and articles are considered important sources for colonial Mexico’s history.

"Santa Clara and the Jesuit community has lost one of its most engaging and tireless ambassadors of good will.  I am grateful for Norman's friends and Jesuit brothers who visited with him and stood vigil during these final days.  We will all certainly miss him,” said Fr.Gerdenio Manuel,S.J. rector of the SCU Jesuit Community.

Fr. Arthur Leibscher, SCU history professor said, "The scholarly world looked on Fr. Martin as an insightful scholar. His students knew him as enthused teacher and caring mentor. But, above all, he was a priest who reached out to everyone with care and concern."

In addition to the Jesuit community, he is survived by his nephew Warren H. Hutchins and family of Daly City, Calif.



<p>Father Norman Martin, S.J.</p>

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